THE tirade of abuse that has been levelled against Australian tennis great Margaret Court over her stance against same-sex marriage reeks of hypocrisy.
At a time when the marriage equality movement is pushing tolerance, those who dare to offer a counterview are ridiculed for the crime of having an opinion.
Margaret Court's view may not be that of the majority of Australians, based on the polls, but she's entitled to have it.
To suggest an arena bearing her name should be renamed is absurd.
Australia is a country that has freedom of speech.
It's a freedom that was fought for at great cost by men and women during a series of conflicts.
It's a freedom that allows the gay community to fight for what they see as a fundamental human right.
Yet Court's treatment, including on The Project, was demeaning and completely unfair.
The way she has been ridiculed by some is just as bad as the slurs made by some in the church against gay people.
Court bravely presented a viewpoint still shared by many Christians in this country that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Many in the church have no problem with civil unions but don't believe the Marriage Act should be changed.
Court during the interview said she was interrupted by Waleed Aly and even laughed at.
The media, for its part, has a responsibility to give the other side of the argument a fair hearing.
It shouldn't try to foist its views upon those with contrary views.
"He tried to cut me off, I said no, you're not listening, you're just making fun," she said.
"I pray for our nation, I still love representing my nation."
The Project interview started politely enough when Court was asked by Aly if she was surprised by the reaction to her comments this week.
The way you treated Margaret Court was shameful. If she was a Muslim there would of been no way that you would of treated the way you did— Robert A Robitschek (@RobbieAlexR) May 27, 2017
The tennis great said she had been bullied or intimidated after expressing her opinion.
"The intimidation factor I don't quite understand," Aly replied.
"What is wrong with the CEO of a company like Qantas expressing support for a position that had overwhelming majority support amongst the Australian public and hence his customers, his staff and probably his shareholders?"
@Sausage_n_Chips i'm not personally barracking... what Margaret Court experienced on the Project was religious vilification....— Martorius (@martorius) May 27, 2017
Court said "perhaps that's where I don't agree with you".
"There's very many people in this nation, just normal people out there, farmers and mums and dads, I've been married for 50 years this year and I think you know I may have been a tennis champion, but even as a young person, I'd agree that marriage is between a man and a woman, if people read the first two chapters..."
But she couldn't get through her response before she was cut off.
"Margaret, I appreciate that might be your view but there is polling suggesting that 62-64 per cent are in support of this," Aly stated as Court tried to speak.
The host continued to talk over Court as she protested and asked to be allowed to finish.
She was later cut off again by panellist Meshel Laurie as she tried to justify her stance on the issue.
"Yep, yep, yep, I get all that," Meshel said over Court, with laughter from the studio audience.
Court came in the spotlight this week when she penned an open letter stating she would boycott Qantas in protest over the airline's support for same-sex marriage.
"Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines (where) possible for my extensive travelling," the letter read.
It caused backlash from the likes of Aussie tennis player Casey Dellaqua, who tweeted "Margaret, enough is enough" and retired tennis player Martina Navratilova, who said "Thank you Qantas for your support. And Margaret - you have gone too far. Shame on you. Maybe it's time to change the name of Margaret Court Arena then...".
Anyone who watched The Project interview can see Court is respectful of gay people, but does not believe the Marriage Act should be changed.
Same-sex advocates argue that Australia is a secular nation with the fundamental principle of a separation of church and state.
That may be the case, but it would be a sad day when the views of the Christian community, which according to Census figures, still represents more than six in 10 Australians, is completely ignored.
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