Martina speaks out against protesters

AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova is a leading champion for gay rights.

PARIS -- Gay marriage became legal in France this week but before it did, opponents held large protests in Paris on Sunday. There was a large show of police outside the Metro stop by Roland Garros, the media desk at the French Open warned of extensive travel disruptions and one protest at Les Invalides resulted in security shooting tear gas at the protesters to disperse them.

"They've had a few protests. They had like three or four. They are just relentless," Martina Navratilova said. "What it does is [irritate] the Parisians because it totally ruins the traffic. There was so much traffic.

"It's the church. What are they doing? It's too late. .. It's not Parisians that are doing it --they're bussing people in from all around the country. They think they're doing God's work, so they're not giving it up. It's peculiar because the French so don't care.

"It's OK, apparently, for the president to have a mistress but not for gay people to get married. … We're too promiscuous, but we're not allowed to get married. Go figure."

Navratilova not only is one the greatest tennis players in history, she also is a leading advocate for gay rights.

"I always say, where is the harm and how does it affect you whether my partner has a penis or not?" Navratilova said. "I'm bringing it back to really a basic level. Why does it matter to anyone but the two people involved? And it only affects you, really, when you're having sex. The rest of the day you're getting the groceries. That's the only time it matters and again, why does it matter to anyone? Seriously?"

She was upset about Thursday's news that Nigeria had formally banned gay marriage, making it a crime punishable by up to 14 years in jail. Just a public display of affection by gay couples could result in a 10-year sentence.

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