Billie Jean King says no need to rename Margaret Court Arena

Says she still respects her former rival despite Court's anti-gay views

Billie Jean King says no need to rename Margaret Court Arena
19 January 2012

Margaret Court's outspoken views against gay marriage have led some to call for the renaming the arena named after her at Melbourne Park where the Australian Open is currently underway.

But Court's former rival, openly gay Billie Jean King, is not among them.

'No, no, no, get rid of her for that? Because you don't agree with her? Are you kidding?' King tells The Desert Sun. 'Just because you don't agree with someone? Please. She deserves it. She's a great player.'

Earlier this week, tennis players and fans wore rainbow colored clothing in protest against Court's recent anti-gay comments. She same-sex marriage is an effort to legitimize 'abominable sexual practices that include sodomy' and has defended her right to speak out on what she believes is right or wrong.

She and King faced off many times during the 60s and early 70s and were the dominant players of their era. Court won the Australian Open singles title 11 times in her career and a record 24 grand slam singles titles overall.

Since their playing days, Court has become a Pentecostal minister while King has continued to fight for gender and LGBT equality in sports and in life.

'I totally respect her opinion, but I don't agree with her at all,' King says. 'We have a rising problem with homophobia globally. This is about civil rights. It's about equality, having equal opportunities and rights. Everyone gets too wigged out on it. I guess because it's sexual, people get funny. But it's just about equal rights. That's all it is. And I don't know what they're trying to make it into. It's just equal rights."

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Judge rules gay couples can get married in Illinois' Cook County - starting today

Federal judge says 'there is no reason to delay further' and wait until June for implementation
No thumbnail available

Danny La Rue’s life dragged onto the big screen

The life of the popular gay British drag act is to be dramatized in a new film
No thumbnail available

Clergy rebellion over gay church weddings

Clergy from the UK's London diocese are calling on the Church of England to allow priests to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Australian opposition leader says he is no longer 'threatened' by gay people

On TV interview Tony Abbott says he is disappointed in himself for saying he was threatened by homosexuality four years ago, but he still doesn't support gay marriage
No thumbnail available

Power Gays: Chris Parnham

Gay Star News grabs a few minutes with Chris Parnham, managing director of event management company Zibrant
No thumbnail available

Backlash to anti-gay marriage advert in Australia

‘Nasty’ advert is widely criticised by public, politicians and the gay brother of the party leader responsible
No thumbnail available

Mississippi governor proudly signs 'don't serve the gays' bill

Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, attended the small signing ceremony for the legislation
No thumbnail available

First Hong Kong study into LGBT people at work published

Groundbreaking study makes business case for LGBT inclusive workplaces in Hong Kong
No thumbnail available

Pakistan trans activists protest against US drone strikes

The transgender community in Sukkur, Pakistan has protested against US drone strikes claiming they are counterproductive and kill innocent people