Court’s belief that marriage can only happen between a man and a woman might be rooted in her interpretation of the bible, but it’s obviously out of step with mainstream feelings (and the law) in Australia.
Along with her famous contention that “tennis is full of lesbians”, with its undertones of homophobia, it’s offensive and hurtful to many people. It’s more than a little uncomfortable, but it isn’t going to change the law. It isn’t even going to change anyone’s mind. Court is preaching to the choir, and the choir isn’t that big.
Every year, when tennis Christmas comes, the Court controversy starts up again: we should take her name of the stadium, kick her out of the tennis family, block her on Twitter and cancel her on Facebook.
Most of us feel the impulse to shut down people we find offensive at some time. We can argue with Margaret Court’s views, but we can’t Photoshop her out of the family album with the sewing scissors. That’s like pretending that a whole lot of bad stuff never happened.
If Margaret Court Arena is a monument to her great days as a tennis player, it is also now, thanks to the Reverend Margaret Court, a reminder of the homophobia that has made so many people suffer – and still does.
I bet Tennis Australia wishes they could just uninvite her this January, but it isn’t that easy. She’s a member of the tennis family, and you have to have the family over for Christmas. They probably just have to roll their eyes and groan inwardly as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of Margaret Court’s grand slam, and hope it doesn’t blow up Christmas. But there will be no need for a 60th, and she won’t be around for the centenary.
Matt Holden is a Melbourne writer.