Pacquiao KOs anti-gay allegations
LOS ANGELES—Manny Pacquiao says he loves and supports gays and lesbians, even though he does not approve of gay marriage.
The Filipino world boxing champion and congressman has been criticized ever since he was quoted in an interview on the examiner.com website saying he opposed US President Barack Obama’s support for gay marriage.
Pacquiao said on Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press that he doesn’t support gay marriage because of his Roman Catholic beliefs. But he said he has gay friends and relatives, and supports their rights.
“I’m not against the gay people,” Pacquiao said. “I’m not condemning them. … I have a cousin (who is) gay. I have relatives (who are) gay. I have a lot of friends (who are) gay, so I’m not condemning gays. What I said is I’m not in favor of same-sex marriage. That’s the one thing I said to the guy.
“I told (the reporter) I’m against same-sex marriage,” Pacquiao added. “He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘It’s the law of God.’ That’s all I said.”
The examiner.com story contained a Bible passage from Leviticus calling for the death of “a man (who) lies with a man,” and Pacquiao said many readers erroneously believed he had quoted that verse.
Clarification from writer
He said he had not, and the writer, Granville Ampong, later clarified in a follow-up post that he was not quoting Pacquiao and he had included the verse himself.
“[N]owhere in my supposition and integration of my interview with Pacquiao did I mention that Pacquiao recited this Leviticus 20:13 nor did I imply that Pacquiao had quoted such,” Ampong wrote in his blog post. “I have simply reminded in my column how God made it clear in the Old Testament time that such practice of same-sex marriage is detestable and strictly forbidden, in as much as God wants to encourage his people practices that lead to health and happiness and fullness of life.”
He called on writers for USA Today and LA Weekly who also attributed the Leviticus citation to Pacquiao to retract their stories.
“My favorite verse in the Bible is ‘Love one another,’ and ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself,’” Pacquiao said. “It’s in the Bible: Do not judge. I’m not judging.”
Pacquiao was banned from a popular Hollywood shopping mall after the article was publicized on Tuesday, and an online petition encouraging sponsor Nike to drop Pacquiao received 4,868 signatures before it was suspended on Wednesday morning. The petition site, change.org, posted a note saying that the author of the original article had clarified that Pacquiao didn’t cite the Bible passage.
But the clarifications were not enough for Barangay Los Angeles, the biggest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) Filipino-Americans here. “Congressman Pacquiao should be cautious and sensitive when advocating his religious views while he remains a public official representing a mass population, including LGBTQ individuals,” said Robert Julius Maullon, president of Barangay Los Angeles.
Maullon asked Pacquiao to talk with the LGBTQ community. “Regardless of potential misquotations and misrepresentation, the message of negativity has been spotlighted and must be used to educate others to highlight … intolerance that exists in our community,” Maullon said.
Other groups said that Filipino-Americans should continue to stand behind Pacquiao in the boxing arena, but that he should learn a lesson from the controversy.
“He should keep in mind that he’s not just a boxing champion but he’s also a public official, a representative of the Filipino people,” said Austin Baul Jr., president of the Filipino-American Community of Los Angeles. “He has to conduct himself with proper decorum.”
Art Garcia, head of the Philippine Alliance and Justice for Filipino-American Veterans, said Pacquiao had freedom of speech, “but as a public official, he should honor the separation of church and state, as stipulated in the Constitution, and not proselytize on his personal beliefs.” Reports from Greg Beacham, AP; and Nimfa U. Rueda, Inquirer US correspondent
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