Boxer Manny Pacquiao Says Gays Should be 'Put to Death'
On Tuesday, May 15th, The Advocate’s Jeremy Kinser reported that World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, a devoted Catholic, criticized President Obama’s support of marriage equality by quoting Old Testament scripture during an interview with the National Conservative Examiner .
"God's words first ... obey God's law first before considering the laws of man," Pacquiao said of Obama's historic statement last week. "God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other. It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old." Pacquiao, who is also a Philippine legislator, reportedly felt that the U.S. has a responsibility that Obama is not maintaining. "America should be the model of morality for other countries to emulate and must have the responsibility to uphold the Scripture to the highest order of God's command."
According to the Examiner, Pacquiao quoted from Leviticus 20:13, which reads, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
Once these reports hit the airwaves, Pacquiao, who recently placed number 4 on Forbes magazine's list of most influential athletes in the world, found his words doing more damage to his own reputation than the LGBT community. LA Weekly reports Pacquiao was set to be interviewed by Mario Lopez for the TV show Extra, but after the boxer’s anti-gay comments he was swiftly banned from The Grove, the shopping mall in Los Angeles where the program is taped. The Grove’s official statement read: "Based on news reports of statements made by Mr. Pacquiao we have made it be known that he is not welcome at The Grove and will not be interviewed here now or in the future. The Grove is a gathering place for all Angelenos and not a place for intolerance."
The Courage Campaign—a Los Angeles based organization for LGBT equality—also jumped into the fight by launching an online petition requesting Nike drop Pacquiao as endorser. The petition reads: “Kids all over the world look up to Pacquiao as a role model, named one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people and the world's highest paid athlete. This is not what kids need to learn from a sports figure and foreign government official who makes his money in the US. The hatred in Manny's soul for friends and neighbors isn't sportsmanlike or moral.”
Several celebs also responded to the tattooed boxer's statements, including filmmaker Jose Javier Reyes, who told the Sports Inquirer, “Instead of a reply, I have two questions: Does the Bible endorse the infliction of violence against your fellow man in the name of sportsmanship and to accrue millions so as to further gain a feeling of righteousness? What is the saying again about a little knowledge? Let me check Leviticus … OMG, it says it’s also a sin to have tattoos.”
Pacquiao finally responded to all the attention on Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press. According to The Washington Post, Pacquiao says he doesn’t support gay marriage because he's a Roman Catholic, but that he has gay friends and relatives, and supports their rights; evidently he doesn't see gay marriage as being a "right." And as for that Leviticus quote, Pacquiao said he had not brought it up in the interview and the article's author later clarified in a follow-up post that he had included the verse himself.
“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.”