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Tennis Legend Margaret Court, Now a Pastor, Facing Fierce Backlash for Her Stand for Traditional Marriage

News Staff : Jun 8, 2017 : CBN News

Tennis great Martina Navratilova spoke out against Court's comments and called for the name of an arena named after Margaret Court to be changed.

(Australia) — [CBN News] Tennis great Margaret Court won a record 62 majors during the 1960s and 1970s in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles — more than any male or female player in the history of the game. (Photo Credit: CBN News)

But the 74-year-old's historic career isn't making headlines these days. It's her opposition to same-sex marriage.

The controversy involves Court's letter to the editor last month, in which she spoke out against the chief executive of the airline, Qantas, Alan Joyce, for showing his company's support for same-sex marriage. It's not legal in Australia.

"I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible," Court wrote in The West Australian. "Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive traveling."

"I love all people and will be pleased to talk to your board at any time," she continued. "But it won't be in the Qantas lounge. God bless."

She later told a Christian radio station that tennis is "full of lesbians," The West Australian reported. She also told 20Twenty Vision Christian Radio that when she played professional tennis, lesbian players on the tour would try to sway younger players.

"When I was playing there was only a couple there, but those couple that led that took young ones into parties and things... because they like to be around heroes," she said, according to the newspaper.

The Australian media outlet, SBS, reported that Court told a talkback caller, "Homosexuality is a lust for the flesh, so is adultery, fornication."

She also told the radio station that embracing homosexuality would cause young people to "destroy their lives," according to SBS.

In addition, Court said polls in Australia that showed support for same-sex marriage across the country were not true, the media outlet reported.

"The statistics are very, very wrong, but they want us to think they've got the majority," she said. "And we know, everybody knows that it is wrong, but they're after our young ones, that's what they're after."

Court is the senior minister at Victory Life Center in Perth, Australia. The New York Times reports that on Sunday, she told the congregation that she received more than 1,000 emails from all over Australia last week in favor of her position.

The Times reports that in that service, Court said she did regret some of the comments she said on Christian radio.

"I was 90 to 95 percent in the Spirit, but some of what I said was in the flesh, and I repented that," she said.

Gay rights supporters in Australia and around the world are upset by Court's comments, and there is a call to rename Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, the site of the Australian Open.

In an open letter on the website of The Sydney Morning Herald, tennis great Martina Navratilova spoke out against Court's comments and called for the name of the arena to be changed.

"We should not be celebrating this kind of behavior, this kind of philosophy," Navratilova wrote. "The platform people like Margaret Court use needs to be made smaller, not bigger."

The New York Times reported that Court told her congregation on Sunday, "This isn't about the Margaret Court Arena. This is about the truth."

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