LOS ANGELES (AP) — Manny Pacquiao says he loves and supports gays and lesbians, even though he does not approve of gay marriage.

Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao. Pic: AP.

The world champion boxer and Filipino congressman has been criticized ever since he gave an interview to the examiner.com website in which he opposed President Barack Obama’s support for gay marriage.

Pacquiao said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press that he doesn’t support gay marriage because of his Roman Catholic beliefs. But he says he has gay friends and relatives, and supports their rights.

The previous story contained a Bible passage calling for the death of “a man (who) lies with a man,” and Pacquiao says many readers erroneously believed he had quoted that verse.

He says he had not.

For inside analysis of this story read Edwin Espejo’s post here