Gay group says Pacquiao’s apology ‘not really genuine’

Posted at 05/18/12 1:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao’s apology to the gay community over his comments against same-sex marriage was “not really genuine” but made out of fear, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group said Friday.

“Ang Ladlad,” which is eyeing a spot in Congress next year, said Pacquiao should not have included his views on same-sex marriage if he is really sincere in his apology.

Danton Remoto, chairman emeritus of the gay group, believes that the boxing champ only did it because he does not want to lose more endorsement deals.

“Oo, mawawala ang endorsement niya sa Nike eh [kapag hindi siya nag-apologize],” he said in an interview on ANC's "Headstart," referring to the sports apparel giant.

“Hindi mo na kailangang banatan ang LGBT community tungkol sa same-sex marriage kasi dapat ibigay niya ‘yun sa LGBT couples, sa LGBT partners,” added Ang Ladlad chairman Bemz Benedito, a transgender.

Asked if Ang Ladlad can still forgive Pacquiao, Benedito said: “Oo naman, dahil para sa amin naman, ang pananampalataya naming ay mapagpatawad ang mga LGBTs. Pero sana it would be a genuine na paghingi ng paumanhin sa amin.”

Pacquiao apologized to LGBTs in an interview with Extra TV after Examiner’s Granville Ampong wrote that the Filipino champion disagreed with the stance of United States President Barack Obama on same-sex marriage.

The boxer was also wrongly quoted as saying a Bible verse from Leviticus 20:13, which read: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

“I want to clarify that I didn’t say I wanted all gays to be put to death,” Pacquiao said in the interview with Extra TV.

“To the gay community, I apologize. I’m against same-sex marriage, but I’m not condemning you. My favorite verse is ‘love one another as you love yourself. Love your neighbor.’ So, I love everybody!”

More careful

Remoto and Benedito said Pacquiao should be more careful in making statements especially since he is a very influential figure not only in the Philippines, but also across the globe.

“The problem is he is a public figure, a superstar, very influential. And a lawmaker, too. So he should remember that he has constituents who are LGBTs. He should be very careful with his statements,” Benedito said.

“Ang kinakatakot lang namin is they’re using their influence, their stardom, to shift ‘yung paradigm ng mga tao.”

On Thursday, Ang Ladlad member Boy Abunda said the group is still supporting Pacquiao in his upcoming fight next month despite his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Abunda, a television host, also agreed with Pacquiao’s appeal for people to just respect each other’s opinions.