Champion boxer Manny Pacquiao has spoken out against President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage. "God's words first ... obey God's law first before considering the laws of man" Pacquiao told the Examiner's Granville Ampong. He went on to add that gay marriage is contrary to the Bible, which he described as the "manual for life."
There is a possible political impact of Pacquiao's stance. He is currently considered the #4 most influential athlete by Forbes and he is considered especially influential with Filipino voters. Last February, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)--a former boxer himself--arranged for Pacquiao and his wife to meet the President in private at the White House. It's thought that Pacquiao's help could keep Nevada in Obama's column in November.
Now Pacquiao, who says he still respects the President, has come out against his flip-flop on a social issue just months before the 2012 election.
It's worth nothing that Pacquiao wasn't always this committed to the Bible. He came very close to losing his last major fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in November. His trainer Freddie Roach revealed recently that Pacquiao's wife had filed for divorce the day before the fight. Roach also says that his fighter was distracted by his growing fame and a business empire which included a casino and a nightclub. But the near loss in November was a wake-up call which caused Pacquiao to dramatically change his life:
"He's given away his cockfighting farm [in the Philippines], sold his casino and his nightclub," Roach said.
Roach described a pre-Marquez climate that included "girls and everything that goes with it," late nights of gambling and excessive physical wear playing too many games of basketball.
"Now, he's back with his wife, reading the Bible every day, and he's given up basketball," Roach said at Hollywood's Wild Card Boxing Club, where Pacquiao has resumed training after a stint in the Philippines.
The Bible reading has become a serious part of Pacquiao's daily life, "My other life is now the Bible. I follow the Commandments of God. When I read the Bible, I found the manual of life." There is even talk that his next fight, scheduled for June, may be his last.