Courage Campaign Success Stories
Manny Pacquiao backs down, apologizes to gay community
Thanks to you and over 25,000 other Courage members from around the globe, in less than 24 hours, world-famous boxer/Philippines congressman/multi-millionaire Manny Pacquiao acknowledged that he cannot spew anti-gay remarks without real consequences.
Here’s what happened:
- After you took action, Pacquiao scrambled to correct the record in an interview with “Extra” host Mario Lopez, saying, “To the gay community, I apologize. My favorite verse is ‘Love one another as you love yourself. Love your neighbor.’ So I love everybody!”(1) To the Associated Press, “It’s in the Bible: Do not judge. I’m not judging.”(2) Finally, his statement: “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.”(3) What’s more, according to reports, Nike, the target of our action, also issued a statement: “Any recent remarks made by Manny Pacquiao reflect his personal views. Nike is strongly opposed to discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of GLBT individuals.”(4)
- There is a “but” — Pacquiao continues to confuse religion and the law in opposing same-sex marriage. We respect his religious views about marriage and ask him to support making all loving couples equal under the law.
Last and most remarkably, world-famous boxer and Pacquiao rival Floyd Mayweather jumped into the mix last night, tweeting to his 2.8 million followers, “I stand behind President Obama & support gay marriage. I’m an American citizen & I believe people should live their life the way they want.”(5) This is also a huge step forward to make inroads among what can be a very homophobic community. We thank Mr. Mayweather for his announcement and support for equality.
Together we’ve made great progress and we think Pacquiao has too. We look forward to the day that Pacquiao will complete the journey that President Obama and so many others are on and realize that love is love, that marriage is civil and in no way affects one’s religious beliefs.
Our job now is to continue to hold public figures and their sponsors accountable for their statements and encourage them to support full equality. Today one can’t imagine someone publicly making racist remarks and attributing it to “God’s will.” If we keep holding influential figures like this accountable, one day similar anti-gay comments will be just as unacceptable.
If you support this mission, please chip in so we can continue to hold others accountable and fight for LGBT equality in every way we can, including four state-level fights for marriage equality in November.