Laura Robson caught up in gay-rights storm

 

Laura Robson's first-round exit at the Australian Open may have only lasted 69 minutes, but that was long enough for the 17-year-old to find herself in the middle of a gay-rights storm.

Robson wore a rainbow headband during her convincing defeat to Jelena Jankovic, which led to suggestions she was joining in with a planned Facebook-organised protest against Margaret Court on the court named after the 24-time major winner.

Court has come under fire for her stance against same-sex marriages in her role as a pastor at an evangelical church in Perth.

Several homosexual players, including Martina Navratilova, have spoken out against Court and Robson, perhaps unwittingly, appeared to lend her support yesterday to the 'Rainbow Flags over Margaret Court Arena' campaign organised on the social networking site.

 



However, when asked about it after her match, the teenager said: "It was just a rainbow-coloured hairband.

"I didn't see anything about a protest today. I wore it because I believe in equal rights for everyone. That's it. It wasn't a protest, it was just a hairband."

Robson did concede that, by wearing the garment, she would attract interest having read Court's comments.

"I did (know about the comments)," she added. "But it was through newspapers and things, I never saw a direct quote from her so I don't want to comment when I actually haven't spoken to her.

"I was obviously going to be asked about it and I have given my answer.

"I believe in equal rights for everyone, that is why I wore it."

The issue arose after Court gave an interview to the West Australian newspaper last month in which she said: "Politically correct education has masterfully escorted homosexuality out from behind closed doors into the community openly and now is aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take.

"The fact that the homosexual cry is, 'We can't help it, as we were born this way', as the cause behind their own personal choice is cause for concern."

She stood by those views when asked about the issue again over the weekend, telling The Australian newspaper: "Are they not wanting me to come to the Australian Open? Is that what they are trying to do? I don't run from anything.

"I have always been a champion and always loved what I do and love tennis. I think it is very sad they can bring it into that.

"It is hard that they can voice their opinions but I am not allowed to voice my opinion. There is something wrong somewhere.

"We live in a free society and I stand up for families between a husband and a wife. I won't ever back down on that."

PA

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