Pacquiao apologizes to gay community

Posted at 05/17/2012 12:50 PM | Updated as of 05/17/2012 5:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) -- Filipino boxer Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao apologized to the gay community in an interview with Extra TV after his recent comments, saying he was against same-sex marriage, ignited controversy.

Speaking with Extra’s Mario Lopez, Pacquiao clarified that he “did not say I wanted all gays put to death,” adding, “To the gay community, I apologize.” 

Pacquiao was roundly criticized yesterday after Examiner’s Granville Ampong wrote that the Filipino champion disagreed with United States President Barack Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage.

Last week, Obama announced on an ABC News interview that he was in support of same-sex marriage.

In his report, Ampong also included the Bible verse Leviticus 20:13 in his report, which says “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both has done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

Because of the controversy, Pacquiao’s initial interview with Extra, which was supposed to be held at Los Angeles hotspot The Grove, was cancelled.

The Grove released a statement on their Twitter account, saying the boxer was not welcome in the premises.

“The Grove LA is a gathering place for all Angelenos, not a place for intolerance,” they announced.

The interview was instead held at the boxer’s home in Los Angeles, and a few hours after the taping took place, Extra released a preview of Lopez’s interview with Pacquiao, wherein the Filipino champion explained his side of the story.

“I want to clarify that I didn’t say I wanted all gays put to death,” Pacquiao told Lopez. “The reporter asked me a question.”

“He said, ‘Obama is in favor of legalizing gay marriage and what’s your opinion?’ He asked about my opinion, and I told him my opinion, that I don’t agree, and I’m against same-sex marriage,” Pacquiao said.

“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.”

Pacquiao also apologized to the gay community, saying, “All I said is I’m against same-sex marriage.”

“My favorite verse is ‘Love one another as you love yourself. Love your neighbor.’ So, I love everybody,” he added.

Extra will air the full interview with Pacquiao on Thursday, May 17th (Friday, May 18 in Manila).

In an earlier interview with ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo, Pacquiao said he did not quote the Leviticus verse that was included in Ampong’s report.

“I didn’t say that (verse), that’s a lie. I didn’t know that quote from Leviticus because I haven’t read the Book of Leviticus yet,” Pacquiao said.

“I only gave out my opinion that same-sex marriage is against the law of God,” he added.

Grove officials have not returned calls to Balitang America seeking more information on the apparent ban, which some reports claim has since been lifted.

Pacquiao did not train on Wednesday. After his medical exams and the interview with Extra, the boxer relaxed at his condominium, reviewing the Bible -- which he refers to as his manual for life -- while some of his friends and family watched and cheered on Filipino-Mexican-American singer Jessica Sanchez compete on "American Idol." – Report from Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News North America