Former Australian Grand Slam tennis champion Margaret Court, who holds the record for most singles titles ever in the history of the sport, spoke out on Sunday in defense of her recent controversial rant against same-sex marriage. Referring to homosexuality as a “lust for the flesh” and insinuating that it would inevitably destroy the lives of young people, Court — now a pastor at the Victory Life Center in Perth, Australia — remains unmoved despite global outrage and a renewed campaign to rename the tennis arena that bears her moniker.
Among some of her most recent public statements, Court has suggested that polls showing that a majority of Australians were in favor of same-sex marriage were misleading. “We know it is wrong, but they’re after our young ones,” Court declared in an interview with Vision Christian Radio. “That’s what Hitler did and what Communism did: got the minds of the children.” The 74-year-old Christian pastor went on to assert that the tennis community was “full of lesbians,” a comment that served only to reinvigorate the effort — led by openly gay tennis legend Martina Navratilova who penned a letter to Court on The Sydney Morning Herald’s website — to rename the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne. “We should not be celebrating this kind of behavior, this kind of philosophy,” wrote Navratilova.
While her comments on the subject are not new, Michael Greaves, executive pastor of Victory for Life church, defended Court and spoke on behalf of the church that he claims is, at its core, both welcoming and accepting of the L.G.B.T.Q. community. “We have a few people from the L.G.B.T.I. community in our church. They are not kicked out. They are involved. We are not homophobic, and Pastor Margaret is not homophobic.” While churchgoers are aware of the controversy, support for Victory Life Center continues to grow with plans to expand the auditorium to accommodate 1,800 people already in the works. “This isn’t about the Margaret Court Arena,” Court asserted to her congregation. “This is about the truth.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.