Boxing

Boxer-turned-politician Manny Pacquiao has sparked controversy with his comments on homosexuality.

Manny Pacquiao sparks fury by labelling homosexuals 'worse than animals'

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Manny Pacquiao has sparked controversy by calling homosexuals "worse than animals" in a television interview.

Pacquiao, the only eight-weight world champion in the history of boxing, has embarked on a political career in his native Philippines and is currently running for a senate seat in the country's May elections.

But the 37-year-old - who plans to fight for the final time in April when he challenges for Timothy Bradley's WBO welterweight title - provoked outrage in an interview with broadcaster TV5 aired earlier this week.

"It's common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?" Pacquiao was quoted as saying when his comments were translated into English by TV5's Facebook page.

"Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female.

"If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals."

Pacquiao currently represents his wife's home province of Sarangani in the House of Representatives, and positions himself as a conservative Christian politician.

But his remarks on homosexuality have prompted calls for voters to boycott him in the senate elections, with Filipino gay rights organisations and political group Ladlad condemning the boxer's comments.

Ladlad, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group, posted on its official Twitter account: "PLS DO NOT VOTE Manny Pacquiao for senator. His anti-LGBT statement betray a shallow understanding of the issues that are important to us."

Singer Aiza Seguerra, who recently married her actress-girlfriend, also called on voters to shun Pacquiao, calling him an "ignorant, bigoted hypocrite".

"You might have done our country proud but with your statement, you just showed the whole country why we shouldn't vote for you," Seguerra said in a post on Instagram.

Gay marriage is outlawed in the Philippines due to strong opposition from the Catholic Church.

Eighty per cent of the country's 100 million people subscribe to the faith.

Gay marriages are officiated at small churches but these unions are not recognised by the church or the state.

On Tuesday, Pacquiao posted a picture of himself with his wife on Instagram in an apparent response to the controversy.

"I rather obey the Lord's command than obeying the desires of the flesh," Pacquiao said.

"I'm not condemning anyone, but I'm just telling the truth of what the Bible says."

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