Manila - World boxing star Manny Pacquiao
has drawn an outcry in the Philippines after publicly denouncing people in
same-sex relationships as "worse than animals."
Pacquiao, a high school dropout from a
poverty-stricken rural family who went on to become a boxing legend, made the
remark when he and other Philippine senatorial candidates were asked by the
local TV5 network about their views on same-sex marriage.
His remarks were posted online Monday by
TV5, sparking criticism, including by some fellow Filipino celebrities.
"It's just common sense," said
the 37-year-old Pacquiao, who is currently a member of the House of
Representatives. "Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or
Animals, he said, are better because they
recognize gender differences, and "if you have male-to-male or
female-to-female (relationships), then people are worse than animals."
Among those who strongly reacted to his
remarks was popular gay comedian and TV host Jose Marie Viceral, known as Vice
Ganda. Viceral tweeted on Tuesday that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and
transgenders are humans, not animals. He said that they're not saints, but that
they'll pray for Pacquiao.
Vice Ganda posted a picture of Pope
Francis, suggesting that even the beloved leader of the Roman Catholic does not
condemn gays. He quoted the pope: "If a person is gay and he searches for
the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"
Danton Remoto of the LGBT group Ladlad said
Pacquiao's comments showed he had a shallow understanding of issues important
to the LGBT community.
"He is running for a national position
and he should be a senator of everybody, not just over the hill boxers and
straight people," Remoto said in a telephone interview.
Pacquiao, who has become an active
Christian, said in an Instagram posting that he was not condemning anyone, but
was just expounding on the truth professed by the Bible.
I'd "rather obey the Lord's command
than obeying the desires of the flesh," he said.
He posted a biblical phrase that says:
"Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do
not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor
men who have sex with men."
"God Bless everyone," he said.
"I love you all."