Make no mistake about it. International boxing champion Manny Pacquiao opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage. But contrary to the petition launched by a pro-homosexual group to get sporting goods manufacturer Nike to drop him as a spokesman, Pacquiao never expressed hatred for “gays,” and he never said that they should be killed.

Following the May 12 publication of an article on Examiner.com, in which Pacquiao told reporter Granville Ampong that “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married,” a group calling itself the “Courage Campaign“ called on Nike to “Drop Homophobic Boxer Manny Pacquiao,” claiming, according to Breitbart.com, that the Philipino boxer had spoken out against homosexual marriage by, in part, quoting a passage from Levitiucus that reads: “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.”

The petition, which by May 18 had garnered some 25,000 signatures, challenged Nike: “Do not tarnish your brand. Stand with millions of LGBT and fair minded-people the world over. Drop Manny Pacquiao now. Hatred surely does not = Nike.”

But a close reading of the Examiner.com article makes clear that the reporter, not Pacquiao, had inserted the Scripture, and Pacquiao limited his comments to a Christian perspective on marriage. “God’s words first,” the boxer told reporter Ampong. “… obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man.” Pacquiao added that “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married. It should not be of the same sex, so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Ampong confirmed that the boxer had nothing to do with the reference to the Old Testament scripture. “Nowhere in my supposition and integration of my interview with Pacquiao did I mention that Pacquiao recited this Leviticus 20:13 nor did I imply that Pacquiao had quoted such,” the reporter was quoted by HispanicBusinesss.com as saying. Ampong added that “I have simply reminded in my column how God made it clear in the Old Testament time that such practice of same-sex marriage is detestable and strictly forbidden, in as much as God wants to encourage his people practices that lead to health and happiness and fullness of life.”

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