Margaret Court is not only Australia’s greatest ever tennis player, but she is also proving to be something of a lightning rod regarding religious freedom. Just take the totally unprovoked attack by Claire Harvey, the deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph. In response to the news that Sam Stosur and her partner Lisa Reymond recently had a baby—significantly, there was no mention of the father—Harvey concocted the following scenario:

Leading homophobe Margaret Court no doubt began melting into her Volleys, and is presumably rolling a sheet of A4 into her Olivetti right now to fire off an angry letter to the editor about it.

Note that not only are Court’s views regarding same-sex marriage now judged to immoral (i.e. homophobic) but that Court herself is now being labelled as a “leading homophobe”. But Harvey then has the audacity to lecture the public by concluding:

Acceptance is contagious. That’s the norm we should all be engineering.

What has become clear in the wake of the non-binding-voluntary-postal-survey regarding the re-definition of marriage, though, is that the only “acceptance” that should be tolerated are those who agree with the likes of Harvey.

But more to the point, what journalistic evidence does Harvey use to substantiate such a scathing judgement? The answer is, none at all! All Harvey can produce is part of a quote by Court disagreeing with the decision of Casey Dellacqua and her partner Amanda Judd to have a child back in 2017.

However, rather than being full of hate, Margaret Court made a well-reasoned and what would have been considered—until recently—reasonable argument concerning the right of a child to be raised by both their biological mother and father. A full transcript of what Court wrote is as follows:

Fathers for babies

The article (Dellacqua, partner welcome baby boy, 29/8) rightly celebrates the birth of a child. Yet it is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of his father.

If we continue to dismantle the traditional family unit as old fashioned, archaic and no longer even necessary or relevant, we will create a fatherless generation.

Indeed, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred as the march towards such partnerships, even gay marriage, is fuelled by minority voices rising in opposition to respected Christian beliefs which many cultures also believe.

For the person who is birthed with no exposure, or even acknowledgement, of their natural dad there will always remain questions as to their identity and background.

Personally, I have nothing against Casey Dellacqua or her “partner”.

I simply want to champion the rights of the family over the rights of the individual to engineer social norms and produce children into their relationships.

As a patron of the Australian Family Association, I really want to see a society where traditional family values are still celebrated and every child has the best possible start in life.”

Scientifically speaking, the argument that Court made is not controversial but has the backing of the academic community. For instance, in Stealing from a Child, Dr David van Gend quotes the following research conclusions by Sullins, Regnerus, Marks et al:

The longer social scientists study the question, the more evidence of harm is found, and the fact that children with same-sex parents suffer significant harm in that condition, compared to children with opposite-sex parents, particularly among same-sex parents who identify as married, has been established beyond reasonable doubt. Despite intense political bias to suppress the findings set forth herein, evidence from large, nationally-representative studies, particularly those who identify as married, do not fare as well as those with opposite-sex parents, and many experience substantial harm.

Since the re-definition of marriage, the tone of Australian social discourse has irrevocably changed and it seems like people of religious faith are being increasingly denied a “fair go”. Instead, they’re pejoratively labelled by Harvey as intrusive “curtain-twitchers” whose views should not only be silenced but also publicly condemned.

Mark Powell is the pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Strathfield (NSW), a multi-site church with five successful locations. His show, "Cultural Markisms", hosts discussions about culture with various guests. Mark has a comfortable ability to articulate Truth about contentious issues to a wider audience, and he is frequently published in various publications where his articles often appear in the most popular list.

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