LOS ANGELES, California, May 17 – Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao denied Wednesday he is homophobic, after he was banned from an upmarket Los Angeles shopping complex for comments about gay marriage.
Pacquiao was due to give a TV interview at The Grove, but the outdoor shopping and entertainment centre said he was no longer welcome after his reported remarks.
“Based on news reports of statements made by Mr. Pacquiao, we have made it be known that he is not welcome at The Grove and will not be interviewed here now or in the future,” it said in a statement on its Twitter feed.
“The Grove is a gathering place for all Angelenos and not a place for intolerance,” added the statement, dated Tuesday.
In an interview with the National Conservative Examiner, Pacquiao was quoted as commenting on gay marriage, thrust to the top of the news agenda last week when President Barack Obama said homosexuals should be allowed to wed.
“God’s words first … obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man,” said Pacquiao, adding: “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they 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.”
The piece said “Pacquiao’s directive for Obama calls societies to fear God and not to promote sin,” and cited Leviticus 20:13, saying: “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.”
But Pacquiao said he had only stated his opposition to gay marriage, and did not even know the biblical quotation.
“I’m not against gay people — I have a relative who is also gay,” he said in comments on his official website, adding that the Leviticus quote should not be linked to him.
“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,” he said.
Pacquiao, formerly known for enjoying late-night parties and gambling, now ends almost every training day with a bible session in an auditorium in the hotel which serves as his training camp.