The Consequences of Unbridled Free Speech

Congressman and world renowned boxer Manny Pacquiao got himself into hot water with a comment that likened gay people to animals. As the comment quickly gained an array of unfavorable responses, Manny Pacquiao quickly issued an apology, but reiterated his stand against same sex marriage. Despite the apology, Pacquiao was hit with the loss of an international deal along with several twitter followers.

The Pacquiao comment brings under the microscope two main issues: the clamor to legitimize gay marriage in a staunchly Catholic nation, and the limit to freedom of expression that should be imposed on everyone regardless of moral standing.

Based on the current draft of the constitution which specifies marriage to be a union between a man and a woman, there is no way to legitimize gay marriage in the country. Neither can sex change circumvent the constitution as the Supreme Court has already ruled that the law does not recognize such a human induced transformation. Given the Catholic roots that has not totally lost its grip on the country’s political culture and continues to influence government decisions, it will be difficult to amend the constitution to open the door towards legalizing gay marriage. While the public recognizes everyone’s right to love and happiness, many remain strongly against gay marriage. Such was the case with Many Pacquiao.

So does Pacquiao’s opposition to gay marriage justify the derisive comment?

Not only is freedom of expression a constitutional right, it ranks as the highest among all civil liberties. The law puts a very high premium on self expression to the extent that it prohibits any limitation to the right unless there is a clear and present danger of an evil which the government has an obligation to protect the public against.

Manny Pacquiao’s comment was malicious and careless, but it was too trivial to merit any attention from the government to step in and put a cap on his right to self expression. Whether the comment was justified or not, there is nothing in the law that can prohibit it’s expression, or others like it, unless the consequences to the public be so grave that the government must intervene. But the only one who suffered from this whole charade is Manny Pacquiao himself for his lack of discretion. He insists that God is on his side, so he must be living a very troubled life if he is in the presence of a God who discriminates among people. On a personal note, the God in my life accepts and forgives everyone. How about you, you know of any God that instills the belief in people that they have a right to judge everyone else?

As civilized human beings living in a democracy, we are all required to set our own limitations on our actions – hopefully, the boxer/ congressman has learned the hard lesson.

References:

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2016/feb/18/manny-pacquiaos-anti-gay-rhetoric-permanently-mars-a-hard-won-legacy

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35610531

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/boxing-great-manny-pacquiao-refuses-back-down-gay-034216358–box.html

Related article:

Freedom of Expression is NOT for Adults Only
https://aml1205.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/freedom-of-expression-is-not-for-adults-only-2/

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