Margaret Court, a tennis legend who won each of the sport’s four major tournaments multiple times and has created controversy over her anti-LGBT views, is set to be honored on Australia Day.
However, the decision to give her the Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia, which is “awarded for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or humanity at large,” sparked a massive backlash. The award is set to be given Tuesday, on Australia Day.
Views on Court have changed since her playing days on the tennis courts. Court, now a Pentecostal minister, has been outspoken about her disagreement with LGBT rights and same-sex marriage in Australia. Her criticisms sparked calls for Australia to rename the Margaret Court Arena, which is one of the venues for the annual Australian Open.
The decision to award Court the honor on Australia Day received criticisms from Australian politicians. Former tennis star Martina Navratilova didn’t outright criticize the decision but retweeted Court scrutiny.
“I don’t give out those gongs. That’s not a matter for me; that’s for others. You might want to speak to them about why they think those views, which are disgraceful, hurtful and cost lives, should be honored,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said Friday, via The Guardian.
Andrews added more in a tweet.
Anthony Albanese, of the Australian Labour Party, also tweeted about the decision.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison didn’t comment on Court’s honor.
“I can’t comment on an award that is done through an independent process that hasn’t been announced or I have no official knowledge of those things,” he said.
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