World-famous Nike-endorsed boxer Manny Pacquiao recently spoke out against marriage equality, suggesting same-sex couples are violating God’s law:
PACQUIAO: God’s words first … obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man. 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’s comments imply the annihilation of gays and lesbians, putting him in stark contrast with his primary sponsor, Nike. Not only does Nike have a 100 percent score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, but it has also been a vocal advocate for marriage equality. The Courage Campaign has now launched a petition calling on Nike to drop Manny Pacquiao for his offensive remarks, urging the company not to let its pro-equality reputation be tarnished by such a negative role model.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is often cited to condemn homosexuality, because in it, God destroyed the two towns after its citizens attempted to gang rape two male visitors who turned out to be angels — though little in the story resembles modern-day understandings of same-sex orientations or relationships. In his Examiner story about Pacquiao’s comments, journalist Granville Ampong also invoked Leviticus 20:13, which calls for men who lie with men to be put to death, confusing other outlets to believe Pacquiao had quoted it himself. Ampong has since clarified that he added the verse himself because of his own desire to emphasize his view of the Bible’s anti-gay perspective.
According to a statement from Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, the boxer meant no harm by his remarks. He implied, however, that Pacquiao perhaps did reference the “put to death” Leviticus verse:
KONCZ: Manny was asked about same-sex marriages and he quoted a verse from the Bible to drive home a point. He did not wish ill will on anybody.
Pacquiao has clarified that he does not believe gay people should be put to death and that he is not even familiar with Leviticus 20:13, so he definitely did not quote it. He did stand by the intent of his remarks, though:
PACQUIAO: 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. I’m not against gay people … I have a relative who is also gay. We can’t help it if they were born that way. What I’m critical off [sic] are actions that violate the word of God. I only gave out my opinion that same sex marriage is against the law of God.
The National Organization for Marriage is promoting the original article with Pacquiao’s comments without any disclaimers about what he actually did and did not say.