Victorian Liberal MP Bernie Finn has accused the gay community of “rainbow fascism”.

Speaking to radio host David Oldfield on 2UE this week, the Upper House MP labelled those calling for Margaret Court’s name to be removed from Melbourne Park’s tennis show court “extremists”.

“We have seen, unfortunately, a very small section of the gay community — and I think these people have actually done an enormous amount of damage to the gay community — these extremists who have embarked on a program of rainbow fascism,” Finn said.

“They have gone after [Olympic swimmer] Stephanie Rice, who used one word and apologised immediately, they went after her sponsors, they went after her career, they wanted to destroy her.”

Finn also hit back at criticism from the community over comments made by former Victorian premier and beyondblue chair Jeff Kennett last year that children are better off with opposite-sex parents.

“You would have thought that he was proposing public lynchings of homosexuals, the hysteria was just ludicrous,” Finn said.

“He has a right, just as Margaret Court has a right, to express an opinion.”

Last week former Australian Medical Association president Dr Kerryn Phelps called on the Baillieu Government and Tennis Australia to drop Court’s name from one its show court arena after the former tennis player voiced her support for so-called reparative therapy.

Court, who is senior pastor at Perth’s Victory Life Centre church, told The Australian newspaper last week she had nothing against gay people and claimed to help people in her church “overcome” their homosexuality.

“We have them in our church. I help them to overcome. We have people who have been homosexual who are now married,” she said.

A campaign is underway calling for people attending the Australian Open to fly rainbow flags around Margaret Court Arena. The campaign organisers, however, have backed away from calls for Court’s name to be removed.

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