The Courage Campaign, an online progressive organizing network with over 750,000 members, was encouraged today that its mobilization of a large, swift public response to Manny Pacquiao’s anti-gay remarks forced him to revise his statement.
In a recent interview with Examiner.com, the boxer expressed his opposition to President Obama’s support for marriage equality. “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so 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 article also contained an interpretation of Mr. Pacquiao’s position on homosexuality which, after Courage Campaign members expressed consternation, was later “corrected” by both the reporter and Mr. Pacquiao.
In response, Courage founder and Chair Rick Jacobs stated, “Mr. Pacquiao clearly does not believe in equality and dignity for same-sex couples. I think that American sponsors are going to have to look very carefully at whether they can continue to pour money into his apparently empty soul. He makes a lot of money thanks to the United States and sponsors here.”
Once the Courage Campaign called for Nike to drop Pacquiao, the campaign received more than 20,000 signatures and thousands of likes and comments on Facebook. #DropManny and #MannyPacquiao also became trending topics on Twitter.
The onslaught of criticism prompted Pacquiao to revise his statement. “I only voiced out my opinion that same-sex marriage is against the law of God. I’m not against homosexuals. I have a relative who is also gay. We cannot do anything if they were born that way. What I do not want is when you disobey the commandment of God.”
Jacobs stated, “We think this is a positive step in the right direction, even though Mr. Pacquiao clearly does not yet believe gay and lesbian people are equal. We hope this helps his own journey, the same one that brought President Obama last week to support full equality for LGBT people. Public figures such as Mr. Pacquiao need to watch their words carefully because, like a well-aimed jab, they can hurt deeply. We will continue to hold public figures, especially elected ones, and their sponsors accountable for their statements.”