News National Margaret Court denounces ‘below the belt’ interview on The Project
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Margaret Court denounces ‘below the belt’ interview on The Project

Margaret court was grilled about her stance on gay marriage by host Meshel Laurie (left). Photo: Ten
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Margaret Court has stood by her comments on gay marriage after an uncomfortable interview on The Project.

The tennis star appeared on the program on Friday after being branded a “bigot” for saying she will stop flying Qantas Airlines “where possible” in response to the airline’s promotion of same-sex marriage.

Ms Court told the Herald Sun on Saturday her treatment on the Channel Ten program on Friday was “below the belt” and took aim at host Waleed Aly for not allowing her to answer questions.

“He tried to cut me off, I said no, you’re not listening, you’re just making fun,” the 74-year old tennis champion told the Melbourne-based newspaper yesterday.

During The Project interview via live video link from Perth, Ms Court said many “normal people” in Australia, including farmers, mums and dads, shared her view that marriage was between a man and a woman.

But as she began to advise people to read the first two chapters of the bible, Mr Aly cut off her response.

“Margaret, I appreciate that might be your view, but there is polling suggesting that 62 to 64 per cent are in support of this,” Aly said in reference to the Australian population’s support of same-sex marriage.

Mr Aly continued to talk over the tennis legend and pastor of the Victory Life Church, as she asked to finish her response.

“Can I finish?” she repeatedly asked and protested, as Aly challenged her for “changing the facts”.

Later, panellist Meshel Laurie also interjected into Ms Court’s efforts to explain her view.

“Yep, yep, yep, I get all that,” Ms Laurie said as the studio audience laughed.

Ms Court said she and people who shared her views were being persecuted for their perspective: “We’re getting persecuted; we’re getting bullied because we do have free speech also. I think it’s very, very much one way.”

Ms Laurie countered: “If anyone is being bullied or suffering trauma from this debate, surely you can’t argue that it’s white heterosexuals.”

Margaret Court Controversy

"I have nothing against homosexual people, they can lead their life, but don't touch marriage." Margaret Court addresses her comments regarding marriage equality.

Posted by The Project on 2017年5月26日

The interview follows the tennis champion’s letter, published in The West Australian newspaper, expressing her disappointment that Qantas had become an active supporter of same-sex marriage.

“I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” Ms Court wrote.

“Your Qantas statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.”

Ms Court’s letter sparked outrage on social media, with same-sex marriage proponents reacting with anger and humour, including Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua.

In a post on Twitter, Dellacqua added a photo of a letter Court wrote to a newspaper in 2013, in which she lamented that a baby had “seemingly been deprived of his father”, referring to Dellacqua’s child in a same-sex relationship.

“Margaret. Enough is enough,” she commented at the bottom of the photograph.

When asked by The Project how she would react if the Margaret Court Arena was re-named following the controversy, Ms Court quoted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s comments on radio program 3AW.

“Whatever people may think about Margaret Court’s view on gay marriage, she is entitled to have them and she is entitled to fly on whatever airline she likes or not,” Mr Turnbull said.

“She’s one of the all-time greats and the Margaret Court Arena celebrates Margaret Court the tennis player.”

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