Manny Pacquiao recently ruffled some feathers with comments about same-sex marriage. Like a true politician, the Filipino congressman has backed off his stance a bit.
The eight-division world champion and top pound-for-pound boxer on the planet had taken some serious heat when it was reported that he quoted the Bible in reference to his stance on gay marriage. Pacquiao is a devout Roman Catholic and while claiming he was against same-sex marriage he was said to have quoted Leviticus 20:13, which essentially claims that people who engaged in homosexual activity should be put to death.
Now Pacquiao has clarified those comments, and claims he did not quote that verse, saying that the writer of the original piece added it for context. He told the Associated Press that while he doesn’t support gay marriage because of his religious beliefs, he does have gay friends and relatives and has nothing against gay people.
“I’m not against the gay people. 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. He said ‘Why?’ I said, ‘It’s the law of God.’ That’s all.”
I believe Pacquiao when he says he didn’t mean to condemn gays with his comments. He really doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who actively hates any kind group of people. In fact, based on his history of charity work and openness that actually seems totally counter to his personality.
Yes, his stance on gay marriage is controversial, but whether or not I agree with him isn’t the point. He has religious beliefs and I respect him and his right to express them.
“My favorite verse in the Bible is ‘Love one another’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ It’s in the Bible: Do not judge. I’m not judging.”
Pacquiao’s strong religious and conservative social beliefs are in line with those of many Filipinos. That said, the AP report claims he was very quick to clear his name and backtrack from the comments he made less than 24 hours earlier.
Had he come out and said this a week after the comments went public, I would be skeptical. But it seems like once he saw what was printed and realized how it sounded, he had to clarify what he meant.
I’ll give him a pass on this one.