by Melanie Nathan, January 17, 2012
British tennis player Laura Robson defied the Court by wearing a rainbow colored hair band in Melbourne on Monday in support of gay and lesbian rights during her match at the Australian Open. There may well be a lot more to what was meant as a gesture of solidarity in a country where marriage equality has made major news.
Robson, 17, wore the rainbow hair band onto the tennis court named after Australia‘s most decorated female player, Margaret Court, who now an evangelical Christian and who recently sparked criticism by openly gay tennis champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King as well as commentator Australian Rennae Stubbs, for making anti-gay remarks.
Robson, who via international press knew about Court’s anti-gay comments, claimed not to be making a political statement, and said she was unaware of a call by gay rights activists to take rainbow-colored flags into the Margaret Court Arena. According the UK Guardian, Robson said “It was just a rainbow-colored hair band. I didn’t see anything about a protest today. I wore it because I believe in equal rights for everyone. That’s it.”
According to the UK Guardian, Margaret Court, a Catholic but became an evangelical Christian in 1972, the year before winning the last of 11 Australian titles. She won a record 24 grand slams and is regarded as one of the greatest players in the game’s history. She is now the senior pastor at the Victory life Centre in Perth, which she founded in the 1990s.
The Guardian “However, her reputation has taken a battering since she made remarks last month that infuriated gay rights activists and provoked criticism from openly gay tennis champions such as Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and the Australian Rennae Stubbs, who commentates on tennis on Australian television.
Court accused gay people of indulging in “abominable sexual practices” and described same-sex marriages, promoted by legislation introduced by the current Labor government in Australia, as “unhealthy, unnatural unions”.
She told the Australian newspaper: “I’ve nothing against homosexual people. I help them to overcome. We have people [at the Victory Life Centre] who have been homosexual who are now married.”
In an interview last month with the West Australian, Court said: “Politically correct education has masterfully escorted homosexuality out from behind closed doors, into the community openly and now is aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take. The fact that the homosexual cry is, ‘We can’t help it, as we were born this way’, as the cause behind their own personal choice is cause for concern.”
Navratilova, who has been open about her sexuality for many years, was appalled when told of Court’s views.
“A lot of people have evolved,” she told the tennis website tennischannel.com, “as has the Bible. Unfortunately, Margaret Court has not … Her myopic view is truly frightening as well as damaging to the thousands of children already living in same-gender families.”
Tennis Australia, the sport’s governing body in the country, was embarrassed when the furore broke and issued a statement condemning Court’s views: “Her personal views are her own, and are definitely not shared by Tennis Australia.
“We concur wholeheartedly with the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association] who stated that ‘all human beings, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or otherwise, should be treated equally.'” See more of the Guardian Article here…