Margaret Smith Court, former
No. 1 (1962) singles tennis
Former world No. 1 singles tennis champion Margaret Smith Court, who holds the record for Grand Slam titles (24), said the sport "is full of lesbians" today and that gay critics of hers, such as Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, are engaging in "bullying." Court also said that marriage is between one man and one woman, as the Bible teaches, and gay marriage is an attempt to "legitimize what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy."
Margaret Court, who is retired from tennis now, is a Christian minister in Australia, her home country. During her career -- she retired from tennis in 1977 -- she won more major tennis titles than any other player in history, with numerous wins at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1979.
During an interview with Vision Christian Radio on May 31, Court said, “Tennis is full of lesbians. Even when I was playing there were only a couple there, but those couple that led took young ones into parties. And what you get at the top is often what you’ll get right through that sport.”
Margaret Court enjoying one of her tennis victories. (Brittannica.com)
Court said she had "nothing against homosexuals – as individuals, they can do what they want to do – but my belief as a Christian is marriage the Bible way. And I think it’s sad that these people are using that to try to hit below the belt.”
Fellow tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, both lesbian, have called for Court's name to be stripped from the Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open because of Court's Christian beliefs about sexuality.
(In her career, 1959-1977, Court beat Billie Jean King in four Grand Slam finals, and beat Martina Navratilova in two other matches.)
“We know that homosexuality is a lust of the flesh, so is adultery, fornication, all those things," said Court on Vision Christian Radio. "They too know this. This is why they want marriage, because it’s self-satisfying. I think they know it comes against Christianity, the beliefs of God, but in some way it’s justifying.”
“Everybody knows that it is wrong but they’re after our young ones, that’s what they are after," said Court.
The former tennis champion also criticized some of the anti-bullying programs in the Australian schools, according to The Guardian, because they are designed to promote acceptance of homosexuality.
"The gay lobby is behind that bullying program in schools," she said, "and children not knowing, whether they are taking out a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ and an ‘it’ and a ‘we’ or ‘they,’ and if you feel like being a girl you can dress like a girl. I think, ‘what confusion for a child.' I get confused talking about it."
“There is a whole plot in our nation and in the nations of the world today to get the minds of the children," said Court.
Tennis champion, world No. 1 (1978)
Martina Navratilova. (Screenshot: ABC News)
Back in 2011, before the Australian Open, Court told The West Australian newspaper, "No amount of legislation or political point-scoring can ever take out of the human heart the knowledge that in the beginning God created them male and female and provided each with a unique sexual function to bring forth new life."
"To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimize what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept law that violates their very own God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong," said Court.
Margaret Court was raised Roman Catholic. She became a Pentecostal minister in 1991, and is a senior pastor at the Victory Life Center in Perth, Australia. She and her husband have four children.
Former world No. 1 tennis champion (1966) Billie Jean King. (Tennisworld.com)