Margaret Court doesn’t like gay marriage? Cast her out!
Australian tennis great Margaret Court has been subject to a witch hunt over her apparently heretical views on gay marriage.
In an open letter published in the West Australian last week, Court, who is now a Christian pastor, said she will avoid flying with Qantas Airways because of its public support for gay marriage. ‘I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage’, she wrote. ‘I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible. Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.’
Almost immediately, there were calls for Melbourne and Olympic Parks to change the name of the Margaret Court Arena. Rugby-player-turned-political-commentator Peter FitzSimons asked in the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Does Melbourne Park really want to have an arena named after someone who stands so firmly against inclusiveness, who is becoming a byword for bigot?’
Similarly, after Tennis Australia came out to distance itself from Court’s comments, grassroots activist group Just.Equal asked: ‘If Margaret Court is boycotting businesses for their support of equality, does she want her name on a building that supports equality, diversity and inclusion?’
Setting aside the absurdity of a sports stadium holding political views, this kerfuffle is just the latest example of a growing intolerance towards anyone who deviates from polite-society dogma. Expressing the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman – a view that was universally held a generation ago, and is still enshrined in Australian law – is now deemed a thoughtcrime. In this climate, Court must not only be cast out of society for expressing her views, all reminders of her accomplishments must be erased.
This is medieval. For the sake of free speech, we need to call off the witch hunts against those who dare to express a controversial view.
Patrick Hannaford is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow him on Twitter: @PatHannaford