Manny Pacquiao (Pic: Instagram)
Filipino eight-time world champion boxer turned politician Manny Pacquiao has tendered a half-hearted apology for calling gay people “worse than animals”.
Asked about same-sex marriage in a recent television interview, Pacquiao replied: “It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?
“Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals,” he said.
After a backlash on social media, Pacquiao seemed initially unrepentant, posting a photo on Instagram of him and his wife, captioned: “I rather obey the Lord’s command than obeying the desire of the flesh. I’m not condemning anyone, but I’m just telling the truth of what the Bible says.”
He later posted an apology of sorts, writing: “I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt. I still stand on my belief that I’m against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God bless you all and I’m praying for you.”
In a video clip, he added: I’m humbling myself before you for my mistake.”
Filipino LGBT group Ladlad called on voters to reject the boxer and said that his “cavemen ” stance “betrays a shallow understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity”.
Pacquiao, who is also a businessman, actor and a congressman in the House of Representatives, is running for the Senate in the country’s May elections on a conservative Christian ticket. In 2015, Forbes named him the second highest-paid athlete in the world.
Late last year, British world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury became embroiled in controversy after he said in an interview that the acceptance of homosexuality would lead to the apocalypse and equated it to paedophilia.