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Calls for Margaret Court Arena name change

The Melbourne venue has distanced itself from Court after the retired tennis star made comments critical of gay marriage

By Jon Chapple on 25 May 2017

Margaret Court Arena, Tourism Victoria

image © Tourism Victoria

Tennis star Martina Navratilova, Australian Republic Movement head Peter FitzSimmons and Noise11.com editor Paul Cashmere are among the high-profile Australians to have called for the renaming of Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena following recent comments by Court about same-sex marriage.

In an open letter to The West Australian, Court, a former tennis world №1, said she is to cease flying with Qantas as the airline “has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage”.

“I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” she wrote. “Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.”

The letter has also received significant criticism on social media, with Twitter users suggesting alternative names for the venue in the light of Court’s comments.

“We remain an organisation committed to embracing equality, diversity and inclusion”

The 7,500-cap. sports/entertainment arena that bears her name (pictured) is one of the city’s most popular music venues, in recent years hosting Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, The Black Keys, Little Mix and Ryan Adams. It is managed by Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust (MOPT), which also operates the nearby Rod Laver Arena (16,200-cap.).

In a statement provided to IQ, a MOPT spokeswoman distances the trust from Court’s comments but declines to comment on the venue’s name.

“Melbourne & Olympic Parks does not support Margaret Court’s comments,” she says, “and we remain an organisation committed to embracing equality, diversity and inclusion, from our fans to our colleagues who deliver the events that people love to attend.”

The controversy follows a similar similar debate in Bristol, UK, with venue Colston Hall ultimately deciding to change its name to sever links with slave trader Edward Colston.


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