Last week Australian tennis great Margaret Court, 74, wrote an open letter to the West Australian newspaper announcing her boycott of Qantas because of their support for marriage equality.
“I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage,” Court wrote in a letter to The West Australian newspaper.
“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.”
Court is the founder and pastor of the Victory Life Centre in Perth, whose vision is to “train an army of people who know Christ from within, to take this city and the country for Jesus.”
In 2013, after Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua and her partner Amanda Judd had a baby, Court wrote an open letter to the newspaper criticising Dellacqua and defending the traditional family. She wrote of her sadness for Dellaqua's baby and warned about rainbow families creating a "fatherless generation.”
"Personally, I have nothing against Casey Dellacqua or her 'partner'," Court wrote. "I simply want to champion the rights of the family over the rights of the individual to engineer social norms and produce children into their relationships."
Court’s Qantas boycott received a strong backlash from tennis players, Tennis Australia and the operators of Margaret Court Arena. Martina Navratilova suggested the arena be re-named, Casey Dellacqua told Court via twitter that enough is enough and the Australian Prime Minister defended Court’s right to free speech.
The controversy has become a focus at this week's French Open, with many players opposing Court’s views and some backing calls for a boycott or re-naming of the arena.
Australian players Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kygios voiced their support for marriage equality.
Andy Murray said after his first round win on Tuesday "I don't see why anyone has a problem with two people who love each other getting married. If it's two men, two women, that's great. I don't see why it should matter. It's not anyone else's business.”
Australian Sam Stosur said Tuesday that "I think everyone can have their opinion. I don't agree with it. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we all get down to the Australian Open next year - and who wants to play on Margaret Court Arena and who doesn't. And we'll go from there."
Openly gay women’s player, Belgian Richel Hogenkamp said that ‘She has all the right to think her own way, everybody has. But I don't think you should be that outspoken. And for me, I have a girlfriend myself. So obviously I don't agree with what she's saying.”
“So I think it would be a good thing to see if Australian Open can maybe change the name of the stadium, because maybe some players don't feel so comfortable playing in a stadium named after Margaret Court.”
Angry at what she describes as bullying by the mainstream media because of her views, on Monday Court gave an interview to Video Christian Radio. She claimed that transgender children are the work of the devil, compared LGBT activists to Hitler, said that tennis is “full of lesbians” and that people turn gay because of abuse.
“But with the bullying, and the stuff that’s put out today into children’s minds, I tell you what. If you haven’t got parents who bring you up that way and you’ve got parents that don’t care… your child can just start to think ‘well maybe I am a girl’ when they’re a boy.”
“You can think ‘Oh, I’m a boy’ and it’ll affect your emotions and feelings and everything else. That’s all the devil.”
“That’s what Hitler did and that’s what communism did, got the minds of the children. There’s a whole plot in our nation, and in the nations of the world, to get the minds of the children.”
"I mean, tennis is full of lesbians because even when I was playing there was only a couple there but those couple that lead ... took young ones into parties and things.”
"And because they liked to be around heroes and what you get at the top is often what you will get right through that sport."
Court insisted that her Church is here for gay people. “We’re there to help them overcome. We’re not against the people,” she said. “They’re human beings and 92 per cent, they say in America, have either been abused in some form sexually or emotionally at an early age for them to even be this way.”
When asked about these latest comments, Stosur said she hadn’t read them but “That’s all pretty crazy stuff. “I think it’s pretty obvious that the whole tennis community out here has pretty much the same opinion and we’re going to all stand by that.”
On Wednesday Dellacqua was asked about her reaction to Court’s attack on her family. "At the time I was really hurt. I was hurt because I actually know Margaret personally. I used to hit with her back in Perth so I know her.”
"But I let it go because it was a very happy time in my life so I kind of just ignored it and thought, 'I'm not going to let anyone ruin my happiness.'”
"And I guess more to the point, I'm fine and I'm very conscious of the fact that everyone is allowed their opinion, but when you start singling out my family especially, that's when it's not okay.”
"And my family does not deserve to be subject to that. She can have her opinion but my family do not deserve that and did not deserve that.”
*Since this article was published Martina Navratilova has written an open letter to Margaret Court Arena, explaining why she feels the arena should be re-named Evonne Goolagong Arena.
Navratilova writes that "It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe. Her vitriol is not just an opinion. She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too). She is demonising trans kids and trans adults everywhere."
"And now, linking LGBT to Nazis, communists, the devil? This is not OK. This is in fact sick and it is dangerous. Kids will suffer more because of this continuous bashing and stigmatising of our LGBT community."