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Billy Graham backs North Carolina amendment to ban gay marriage
Billy Graham says that he "never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage."
May 3rd, 2012
11:49 AM ET

Billy Graham backs North Carolina amendment to ban gay marriage

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– The Rev. Billy Graham, the world's best-known evangelist, has endorsed a ballot initiative to constitutionally ban gay marriage in his home state of North Carolina, a rare move for a preacher who has typically avoided political fights.

North Carolinians will vote on the state's Marriage Amendment Act before North Carolina voters next Tuesday.

Voters will decide whether to amend the state constitution to say that "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State."

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North Carolina already bans same-sex marriages. The amendment would effectively ban civil unions and domestic partnerships, too.

Graham is taking out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers touting his support for the measure. His website he encourages churches to download a poster that bears his image and the message "Vote for Marriage May 8th."

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern," the 93-year-old pastor, who has prayed with every president since Dwight Eisenhower, said in a statement on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. "I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.”

The statement continued to say that Graham "never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage."

Graham's newspaper ad will say: "The Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8. God bless you as you vote.”

The bill proposing the amendment says only a simple majority of votes is needed for the amendment to pass.

Supporters of the amendment hailed Graham's endorsement.

"Reverend Graham understands that we as North Carolinians have a duty to preserve God’s first institution–marriage," said Tami Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC,  a group supporting the measure, in a statement. "We cannot be silent as activists work to radically redefine marriage—an institution that has been fundamental to our civilization for thousands of years.”

Opponents of the amendment lamented the move.

“While we were disappointed to see his endorsement it doesn’t change much,” said Paul Guequierre a spokesman for the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families. The coalition, which includes pastors from across the theological spectrum, opposes the amendment. “We have respect for (Graham) but we will continue to work with our clergy on this.”

“People across the country support LGBT equality,” Guequierre said, adding his group was cautiously optimistic about the vote on Tuesday.

While Graham may be an internationally known figure, his influence in North Carolina may be even larger. Charlotte is home to the Billy Graham Parkway. When the Billy Graham Library opened in Charlotte in 2007, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter came for the opening ceremony.

Graham's son Franklin Graham and daughter Anne Graham Lotz have both voiced support for the amendment and both have taken political stands in the past, in contrast to their father.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Politics

soundoff (2,998 Responses)
  1. betoche

    Marriage is between man & woman.
    Family is mom, dad & children.
    Gay & Lesbian can come up with their own definition, description,law, and their own roles. They do not need to push and shove it all to the majority. I respect them as song as they are not pushy to the definition of marriage & Family for decades!
    Please pick another name for your followers! thank you

    October 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
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    September 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
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  6. I don't get you guys

    I'm confused. Where exactly do some of you see Christians as hateful people? Why do you think hate when the bible says to be kind, compassionate, loving, and just good? And where do you see hate in Billy Graham from this article? He said this country is morally declining, and changing the way we were meant to marry. So where does he hate gays? I do understand that some Christians hate gays, and I hate them as much as you do, but where do you get it to where Christianity is a hate filled religion? Why do you judge us on the few truly hateful Christians? Because I don't see how donating clothes and food, providing for those who aren't fortunate, and giving a god to those who have no one else is hateful, all of these I have witnessed first hand. So please explain to me how us christians are hateful.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do you think h0mos3xuals should be denied the same rights as straights? There's your answer.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "So please explain to me how us christians are hateful."

      Stop voting to block this minority groups civil rights, that's your answer. Look at the language Christians use in their fight for against this subject. They tell gays their an abomination, they'll burn in hell, etc... That fact you don't see it speaks volumes about your own personal prejudices.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  7. tek

    His website he encourages churches to download a poster that bears his image and the message "Vote for Marriage May 8th."

    That bears HIS image.... Is that not similar to idol worship?

    May 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  8. camp

    What is the advantage of "being married" if it is a flawed human construct.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • camp

      no one wants to tackle this question? So it is ok to accuse my camp of bigotry but when I ask why you want to dismantle my beliefs you can't respond? I am saying fine then have civil unions, be free to express yourselves that way. I think that is a great solution to the rights of both parties – no?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      The religious don't own the term "marriage". They can't have it. If you want to discriminate in your church, you can call those unions "religious unions". You are even free to call them "marriage" as long as it is understood that it is different, and separate from the civil version of marriage.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Fine. And that "civil union" can be called "marriage". I don't know why the churches are involved in public affairs like marriage anyway.

      We don't have church-certified mortgages or business contracts.

      We don't have public-certified baptisms and confirmations.

      If your particular church doesn't want to perform a religious ceremony and do paperwork for certain people... go for it. Your numbers will dwindle, but that's probably for the best.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      LinCA,

      I was responding to @camp and was typing as you posted... pretty much saying the same thing as you did.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • camp

      That's my point level the field call it a contract and then there is no discrimation.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  9. camp

    So this 90 year old man, who was married to the same person for her lifetime, provided for his own family, basically lives in the same house for 40 plus years. Has a personal faith that has given him a sense of purpose and peace in his life, is the the topic of this blog that has produced all this contoversy..............

    May 10, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • LinCA

      @camp

      You said, "So this 90 year old man, who was married to the same person for her lifetime, provided for his own family, basically lives in the same house for 40 plus years. Has a personal faith that has given him a sense of purpose and peace in his life, is the the topic of this blog that has produced all this contoversy.............."
      No, it's his bigotry that is causing it.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • camp

      I thought in the US we protected his right to his beliefs as well as yours?

      May 10, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • LinCA

      @camp

      You said, "I thought in the US we protected his right to his beliefs as well as yours?"
      Your right to religious freedom ends where it interferes with others. You have the right to believe whatever nonsense you want. You are free to worship whatever monster you like. You don't have the right to impose your views on anyone else.

      Anyone who doesn't like same sex marriage, should not enter into one. Trying to restrict others from doing so, based on your beliefs, is bigotry.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • camp

      Your premise goes both ways, how does what Graham bleives interfere with you? He is an old guy living in NC

      May 10, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • just sayin

      "Your right to religious freedom ends where it interferes with others. ...........You don't have the right to impose your views on anyone else."
      .
      This is th epart the Christian Taliban have a hard time grasping.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • camp

      Let your premise then have equal opportunity, or is it only when it interferes with your happiness, what if your bigotry is interfering with my happiness then it is Tough s h t ?

      May 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • LinCA

      @camp

      You said, "Your premise goes both ways, how does what Graham bleives interfere with you? He is an old guy living in NC"
      He is advocating discrimination based on his beliefs. He is advocating restricting other people from doing what they should have every right to, based on his religion.

      What he does is the exact same thing as advocating to apply Sharia law.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • just sayin

      camp

      Your premise goes both ways, how does what Graham bleives interfere with you? He is an old guy living in NC

      -
      "Graham's newspaper ad will say: "The Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8. God bless you as you vote.”
      .
      Yeah he is just some old guy living in a home keeping to himself and not getting invovled with imposing his Gopd views on others. I guess you neglect to tak into account what he is really doing. He is an old man part of the Christian Taliban.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • camp

      Well Obama's statement yesterday shows that you are clearly cusp of getting everything you want. So guess Graham's evil plan did not work. But again I am curious if marriage is such a flawed human construct why is it so hotly debated. I thought civil unions was a better solution b cause it took the morality out it?

      May 10, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • LinCA

      @camp

      You said, "Let your premise then have equal opportunity, or is it only when it interferes with your happiness, what if your bigotry is interfering with my happiness then it is Tough s h t ?"
      I don't tell anyone what to do. I don't try to restrict anyone from exercising their rights. I don't try to restrict anyone from equal participation. I don't try to discriminate. My beliefs don't interfere with your rights.

      All I do is point out that nobody has the right to impose restrictions on anyone else, solely based on their beliefs. You are free to restrict your own actions based on your belief. Trying to force others to abide by your religious rules is bigotry.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • LinCA

      @camp

      You said, "Well Obama's statement yesterday shows that you are clearly cusp of getting everything you want."
      You seem to have an issue with comprehension. Mr. Obama stated that he believes it should be left up to the individual states. He was only expressing his personal opinion.

      You said, "So guess Graham's evil plan did not work."
      In the end, I expect same sex marriage to be legal in the entire civilized world. Whether that includes the US, one can only hope.

      You said, "But again I am curious if marriage is such a flawed human construct why is it so hotly debated."
      Who said it was flawed? Opening it to all consenting adults does nothing to the "traditional" version of it.

      You said, "I thought civil unions was a better solution b cause it took the morality out it?"
      You mean "religious unions"? The term "marriage" isn't exclusive to the religious community. If you want your immoral version of it, please have the fucking decency to call it something else. If you want to have your own version, with it's own rules, you are free to create one.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • camp

      LinCA – that is what I am saying I see civil unions as a good solution. CU don't have the constrains of a moral issue, as a contract can be disovled as easy a a convential marriage. Then both parties are not imposing their beliefs on the other?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • camp

      Ok Semantics Religous unions, RU vs civil Unions CU. Sounds like a good solution, and then clearly defines the intent. Some do it for religius reasons, others do it for financial reasons.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • LinCA

      @camp

      You said, "that is what I am saying I see civil unions as a good solution."
      No, we are not saying the same thing. You aim to relegate all unions that don't conform to your church teachings to civil unions. You aim to claim the term "marriage" for the religious version only.

      But the religious don't own the term "marriage", so they can't have it. If you want to discriminate in your church, you can call those unions "religious unions". You are even free to call them "marriage" as long as it is understood that it is different, and separate from the civil version of marriage.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • camp

      Geesh a game of semantics I use the term you establish RU and then you want to stay in the terminology arguement. I am talking about someones rights. Call it what you want. If it is a rights issue then call it what it is a contract. Geesh, Sounds like you just want to be angry and impose your beliefs on me.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • camp

      "who says it is flawed"? A NY times journalist on MSNBC yesterday. The average is a 50% failure rate. My Verizon contract is more binding than that. I am saying if two people want to be together, for love,procreation, financial advatnges then call it something all encompassing like a contract, takes the polarization out of it, no religious or civil bias

      May 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • just sayin

      Religion doesn't own the term "marraige" nor define it.....so why the bias of having two different names for the same thing????? Sounds like whites in the front and blacks to the back kind of thing. Of course we can read between the lines camp and know why the bias lol

      May 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      I am all for doing away with the term marraige and replace it with civil union. If someone wants to dance around in a church and give a magical name to it, more power to them but it will have no legal basis. A gay Union will be equal to a striaght Union.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • LinCA

      @camp

      You said, "Geesh a game of semantics I use the term you establish RU and then you want to stay in the terminology arguement."
      It is the religious that are hellbent on discriminating. I see no reason for currently married people to give up their "marriage" and trade it in for a "civil union" just to appease the bigots.

      You said, "I am talking about someones rights. Call it what you want. If it is a rights issue then call it what it is a contract. Geesh, Sounds like you just want to be angry and impose your beliefs on me."
      It is a rights issue. But, no, I don't want to "force my beliefs on you". I want to be free from having my, and everyone's rights infringed on by the religious.

      The fair thing to do is to open the civil marriage to all. I'm OK with leaving it at that. No further action required. Just no discrimination.

      Now, if the religious feel that they need to put additional restrictions on unions, they are free to do so on their own unions. I have no problem with churches defining for their own congregation what they accept for their form of union. They should be free to exclude those of other faiths, they should be free to exclude gays, they should even be free to exclude other races. They should also be free to include unions with inanimate objects, or even between multiple people.

      The only involvement the government needs to have in those unions is in their role as protector of those that can't protect themselves. So, even religious unions should by law be restricted to consenting adults and inanimate objects. No children, animals or mentally handicapped.

      The religious are free to call it whatever they want, including "marriage", as long as they understand that the term "marriage" isn't exclusive to them.

      If they wish to be eligible for civil benefits, they are free to register their union with the State, as long as it meets the State's requirements. A plural union, or one with your mailbox, doesn't qualify.

      You said, "The average is a 50% failure rate. My Verizon contract is more binding than that."
      And your point is? Restricting gays from entering civil marriage isn't going to drive up the divorce rate, if anything it might reduce it.

      You said, "I am saying if two people want to be together, for love,procreation, financial advatnges then call it something all encompassing like a contract, takes the polarization out of it, no religious or civil bias"
      The civil marriage is just that, a contract recognized by the State, and it's called "marriage". The State has no business restricting it, by excluding a disliked minority.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  10. Debbie

    God is not mocked, what a man sows that he shall also reap. Billy Graham has spent his entire life pointing people to God–more people have probably been saved under his ministry than any other pastor. When he stands before God (as all of us will someday), he'll know he did what he could. To most of the people writing in this blog–I would not want to be you on YOUR day. Make it right before too long–and watch out for fast-moving buses in the meantime...

    May 10, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • No Religion

      If you truly believe in "god" then you must believe this hateful bigoted man will be going anywhere but heaven. This disgusting piece of filth has done nothing but spread hate, bigotry, and support violence against hard working tax paying good hearted people of this country. If Billy wanted to enter into the kingdom of heaven he should have spent more time treating other as he would have wanted to be treated and not judging people rather then doing what he was doing. May he rot in hell for all eternity.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Which God?

      Not too spiteful, are you? You condemn instead of forgive. How Christlike you are. You are a sick and hateful person, and a believer in fairy tales.!

      May 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • just sayin

      Debbie, do you hear God's voice?

      May 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  11. Dude

    I wonder why ancient Greeks didn't come up with the gay marriage stuff. Being who they were.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • camp

      If you read "Ceasar and Christ" by historian Durant you will see they did.... they even let a horse become a memeber of the senate. "I guess we will repeating the same outcome"

      May 10, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Which God?

      Ummm, the Romans weren't to far 'behind ' either.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  12. JPX

    Oh gee what a surprise; the man who has made a living by bilking money out of stupid people doesn't believe in gay marriage? I thought he died already.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Mark

      Sodom and Gamorrah. It'll happen again. I feel sorry for you. You don't even know your wrong.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • No Religion

      @Mark.....Dr. Suess, "Green Eggs and Ham." Does that story mean anything to you? No? Well Sodom and Gamorrah mean nothing either. They are both made up stories that have no valid point and no place in government. You don't even know you're wrong....but I don't feel sorry for you. I hate people like you.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  13. Dude

    Bible says I cannot eat pork.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Dude

      but I can have multiple wifes

      May 10, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • WC

      It does not but hey, you are a comedian right?

      May 10, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  14. voice of reason

    poor fellow... spending his entire life marketing a fallacious fantasy to millions. When it comes time to die, however, he will end like any other creature that dies and live no more; neither here nor 'anywhere' else. So very sad and such a precious waste of something like life. I agree with the poster that says churches really need to be taxed like any other business (and that is what they are – a business that sells a belief system in return for donations ((money))).

    May 10, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  15. Rob perry

    Was he speaking as an idividual or as a leader of his c hurch... if he keeps speasking up as a leader of a church to affect policy and election it is time to start taxing this old man.

    I'll start listening to his outdated views when his church starts paying taxes –but to use his leadership of a church to affect policty and an election... sorry you need to be silent and skulk back to your hateful divisive religion Billy.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • WC

      Rob, Graham's views are in line with God's views and I never knew that God's views will ever be outdated or unless you know something that God doesn't....as far as paying taxes, you would be amazed at how many churches are more than willing than to just sit quiet and let you all dictate to them what they can and cannot say.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • just sayin

      WC

      Rob, Graham's views are in line with God's views
      .......
      And who dictates what God's word is? Men create and define their Gods.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.