LOS ANGELES—Boxing champion and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has issued a public apology to the gay community.
“To the gay community, I apologize. I’m against same sex marriage, but I’m not condemning you,” Pacquiao said in an interview on the TV show, “Extra.” “My favorite verse is ‘Love one another as you love yourself. Love your neighbor.’ So, I love everybody!”
The interview with “Extra” host Manny Lopez, held at Pacquiao’s house in Los Angeles, was aired Friday (May 18 in Manila) on KNBC.
The interview was supposed to be held at The Grove shopping mall Wednesday (May 17 in Manila) but was canceled after the shopping mall decided to ban Pacquiao from the venue.
The ban turned out to be based on an erroneous article on the website of examiner.com that Pacquiao had cited the Bible and suggested gay men should die. Pacquiao said he never referred to the Bible referencing bringing harm to homosexuals.
The Philippine lawmaker told the National Conservative Examiner that he believes the Bible is very clear on the issue of homosexuality and that the President Barack Obama’s comments are in direct contradiction to the Scripture.
“God’s words first,” Pacquiao told the Examiner. “Obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man.”
Granville Ampong, who wrote the article—but not Pacquiao himself—went on to quote a passage from the Old Testament book of Leviticus, which states that “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.”
In a statement, The Grove said: “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 statement said.
Taken out of context
But Pacquiao said his statements were taken out of context and that he never stated that anyone in the gay community “deserved death”.
“I didn’t say that, that’s a lie… I didn’t know that quote from Leviticus because I haven’t read the Book of Leviticus yet,” he said.
“I want to clarify that I didn’t say I wanted all gays put to death,” explained Pacquiao. “The reporter asked me a question. He said, ‘Obama is in favor of legalizing gay marriage and what’s your opinion?’ He asked me about my opinion and I told him my opinion that I don’t agree, and I’m against same sex marriage, but I didn’t say that I’m condemning the gays because, you know, I have relatives. I have gay relatives and friends. That’s all I said to the reporter.”
The day before the interview was aired on “Extra,” the largest organization of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer (LGBTQ) Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles demanded a public apology from Pacquiao for making what it described as discriminatory statements against their group.
“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, which has been promoting the rights of the LGBTQ community for the past 21 years
“Regardless of potential misquotations and misrepresentation, the message of negativity has been spotlighted and must be used to educate others to highlight existing intolerance that exists in our community, said Maullon.
“Despite overwhelming support for equal rights, Mr. Pacquiao’s public views remind us that there are still people who see us as second class citizens—denying us of even the basic right to be married.”