Tennis great Margaret Court boycotts Qantas over gay marriage

AFP
Margaret Court is Australia's greatest female tennis player, winning a record 24 major titles (AFP Photo/FIONA HAMILTON)

Margaret Court is Australia's greatest female tennis player, winning a record 24 major titles

Margaret Court is Australia's greatest female tennis player, winning a record 24 major titles (AFP Photo/FIONA HAMILTON)

Sydney (AFP) - Australian tennis great Margaret Court Thursday announced she will stop flying Qantas "where possible" in protest of the airline's support of same-sex marriage.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion, now a Christian pastor in Perth, had been proud to promote the Australian carrier around the world for decades, but not anymore.

"I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage," she said in a letter to The West Australian newspaper that was widely shared and discussed on social media.

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"I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible.

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

Her decision came just weeks after a devout Christian smashed a lemon meringue pie into the face of Qantas chief Alan Joyce during a business breakfast in Perth to protest gay marriage.

Tony Overheu, 67, who was charged with assault, trespassing and damage, accused the Irishman of "corporate bullying".

Joyce, who is gay, has been a vocal supporter of equal rights.

In March, he was one of 20 chief executives of some of Australia's largest companies to sign a joint letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in support of marriage equality.

Court, a critic of homosexuality and gay marriage for decades, said she would be happy to talk with the Qantas board about her stance.

"But it won't be in the Qantas lounge," added the 74-year-old, who has one of the main courts named after her at Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open Grand Slam.

Her views on homosexuality have drawn criticism in the past from fellow greats including Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, who are both gay.

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