Manny Pacquiao may disagree with President Obama's views on same-sex marriage but the Filipino boxing champion says he does not believe that gay people should be "put to death," as had been reported this week by several media outlets.
The recent controversy began after Pacquiao discussed his feelings about same-sex marriage with freelance writer Granville Ampong, whose story was published at the National Conservative Examiner. The boxing champion cited his religious beliefs when revealing to Ampong that he opposes President Obama's stance on same-sex marriage.
Pacquiao is quoted as saying that "God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married." However, it wasn't merely Pacquiao's disagreement with Obama about marriage that sparked a controversy. The article quoted a passage from the book of Leviticus that left many people thinking that Pacquiao was calling for the deaths of homosexuals.
Pacquiao's directive for Obama calls societies to fear God and not to promote sin, inclusive of same-sex marriage and cohabitation, notwithstanding what Leviticus 20:13 has been pointing all along: “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.”
Several news sources -- like USA Today, LA Weekly and The Village Voice -- were misled by Ampong's text and published stories stating that Pacquiao had himself quoted the Leviticus verse promoting the deaths of gay people.
Pacquiao eventually clarified his comments in a statement, claiming that he had never cited the violent verse from Leviticus.
"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," he said, per TMZ. "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."
Ampong wrote a second article on Wednesday backing Pacquiao and demanding that the writers of those stories apologize to the Philippines congressman.
"Pacquiao never said nor recited, nor invoked and nor did he ever refer to such context," Ampong said. "I hereby demand both Weir and Romero to apologize to Pacquiao. They, being writers for USA Today and LA Weekly respectively, should have a better reading comprehension than I do, rhetorically."
Also taking aim at the writers who attributed Ampong's use of the Leviticus quote to Pacquiao was Mary Wiliams of Salon, who wrote," If you’re going to quote someone, read the damn source material already. You need to have an eighth-grade reading proficiency level to get a driver’s license, yet apparently you can be functionally illiterate and work for L.A. Weekly and USA Today."
James King of The Village Voice, who also wrote on Tuesday that Pacquaio had quoted from Leviticus, responded to Ampong's secondary story with a withering critique of his own on Wednesday.
"We -- and dozens of other news outlets -- read the same article, in which Ampong clearly credits Pacquiao with quoting the Bible passage," writes King. "It's since been modified to clarify that Pacquiao isn't the one who made the reference."