MANILA, Philippines – (2nd UPDATE) Sarangani representative and Filipino boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao was barred from an interview with entertainment show “Extra” at the Grove in Los Angeles after making an anti-gay remark.
Speaking with the National Conservative Examiner, Pacquiao said: “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they 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 of Gomorrah of Old,” he added.
Pacquiao made the comment after disagreeing with United States President Barack Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage.
Last week, Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, telling ABC News that “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
The Examiner report also quoted Leviticus 20:13, which says, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.”
“They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
The Bible verse and Pacquiao's statement were also published on his official website.
Grove appearance cancelled
Following Pacquiao’s statements, his scheduled appearance on “Extra” was cancelled, according to LA Weekly.
Pacquiao was supposed to be interviewed by “Extra” host Mario Lopez; both Pacquiao and Lopez even promoted the appearance on Twitter.
But Bill Reich, spokesman of The Grove, told LA Weekly that they were cancelling the event.
“Manny Pacquiao is not coming to the Grove,” he said.
In their Twitter account, it was announced that Pacquiao is not welcome at The Grove.
Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, spoke to boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz regarding the situation and explained their side of the story.
"Manny was aked about same sex marriages and he quoted a verse from the Bible to drive home a point," Koncz told Nathanielsz, who relayed the statement to ABS-CBN News.
"He did not wish ill will on anybody," Koncz added.
LA Weekly notes that Pacquiao lives and trains in Los Angeles, “an urban, forward-thinking haven for the gay community.
“For the sports star to announce that he thinks thousands of gay Angelenos should be ‘put to death’ for loving a same-sex partner should hugely alienate him to the locals. Not to mention alienate him politically to President Obama and the United States,” said writer Simone Wilson.
As a member of the Philippines’ House of Representatives, Pacquiao has strongly opposed the Reproductive Health Bill and is against the legalization of divorce in the predominantly-Catholic country.
Following his controversial decision victory against rival Juan Manuel Marquez last November, Pacquiao experienced a renewal of faith.
The boxer gave up his vices, including gambling, clubbing and cockfighting. He now spends most of his time reading the Bible, praying and preaching.
“He gave his nightclub away, he gave his casino away, he doesn’t gamble anymore and he doesn’t drink anymore. He and his wife are together all the time now and they are very happy together,” his trainer, Freddie Roach, told Reuters.
Roach said that since eliminating the distractions brought about by his old lifestyle, Pacquiao has become a “happier and nicer person.”
Pacquiao has often said that the Bible is the “manual for life” and liberally quotes passages from the Bible during his interviews.
But Pacquiao has been criticized for his views on same-sex marriage as well as his anti-gay remark.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports said Pacquiao “looked a bit hypocritical” after it was reported by the Los Angeles Times that his wife, Jinkee, served him with divorce papers on the eve of his November bout against Marquez.
“Roach subsequently denied saying she served divorce papers, though he didn’t deny that Pacquiao’s lifestyle was hurting his fight career,” Iole wrote.
“(Pacquiao’s) condemnation of Obama’s stance on gay marriage would not look as suspect as it does, though, if he wasn’t living such a promiscuous lifestyle only a few months ago. The timing of his comments could have been better,” he added.
Iole said Pacquiao should have made his comments “after he demonstrated that his recent behavior and attitude changes aren’t simply short-term fixes, but more permanent and fundamental in nature.”
Meanwhile, Dennis Romero of LA Weekly also criticized Pacquiao after noting that the boxer “hasn’t exactly been by-the-book when it comes to his own union – allegedly.”
“He has been linked in reports to a Filipina actress named Krista Ranillo. How Catholic of him,” Romero wrote.
Rick Jacobs, the founder and chairman of equality movement Courage Campaign, told LA Weekly that Pacquiao’s comments will have an impact on his endorsements and sponsors in the United States.
“I do think that American sponsors are going to have to look very carefully about whether they can continue to pour money into his apparently empty soul,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said it is also “outrageous” that Pacquiao – an official of the Philippine government – is criticizing Obama for his stance on same-sex marriage.
“That’s a really big step for a foreign elected official to take,” he said.
In a recent report by Forbes, Pacquiao was listed as fourth on its list of most influential athletes in the United States this year.