Icelandic band Sigur Rós have promised to make their upcoming show at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne “the most inclusive night ever” in a show of support for Australian marriage equality.
Former tennis champion Margaret Court made headlines in May after a pledge to boycott Qantas over their support of same-sex marriage. In an interview with a Christian radio station, she said transgenderism was the work of the devil and compared a global plot to promote equal sexual rights to Hitler.
Another former tennis champion, Martina Navratilova, has penned an open letter describing Court as a “a racist and a homophobe”, and calling on Tennis Australia to rename the arena. While Malcolm Turnbull has defended the arena’s name, more than 10,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to rename it after Indigenous tennis champion Evonne Goolagong.
As the Sigur Rós prepared to play the concert in Melbourne on 27 July, the band said in a statement: “Our fans and friends have made us aware of recent comments by Margaret Court regarding her opposition to Qantas’s support of same-sex marriage in Australia, and her wider views on race and sexuality.
“We know Margaret Court’s opinions are not shared by the majority of Australians. We want to add our voice to the call for marriage equality in Australia – right here on Margaret Court Arena itself. Australia should be a country that celebrates positivity and inclusion, as well as achievement on the sporting field.”
The band said they would be selling a special T-shirt during their Australian tour, with all proceeds going to the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality.
“Let’s make 27 July Margaret Court Arena’s most inclusive night ever and call for every Australian to have the same dignity and respect right here on centre court,” they said.
In Iceland, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2010, when it was unanimously voted in by a parliament led by the world’s first openly gay prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir – who was one of the first Icelanders to be married under the law.
Australian No1 Sam Stosur has said players could choose to boycott the arena at the Australian Open next year.