Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has sparked outrage after describing gay couples as “worse than animals”.
Pacquiao, 37, is closing in on the end of his in-ring career, having been an eight-time world champion.
He is currently in the process of re-inventing himself in his homeland as he moves into politics, running for a senate seat in the country’s May elections. When asked about his views on gay marriage, outlawed in the Philippines, he offered his shocking views.
“It’s common sense. Do you see animals that go male to male or female to female? So the animals are even better,” Pacquiao told local broadcaster TV5 in an interview aired this week.
“Because they know how to distinguish from male to male or female to female. Right? Now if we allow male to male or female to female, then that makes us worse than animals.”
It is not the first time Pacquiao has offered his feelings on the subject. He is quoted in a National Conservative Examiner article from 2012 declaring: “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married.”
Pacquiao has immersed himself in Christianity in recent years and claims his new-found faith as the inspiration for turning him from a free-spending gambler into a devoted family man.
Gay marriage is outlawed in the Philippines, with Catholicism the country’s main faith. Gay marriages are officiated at small churches but such unions are not recognised by the catholic church nor the state.