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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. Pete234

    The gay lifestyle is an abomination. Being gay is unnatural. I support a nationwide ban on gay marriage and civil unions. We should never encourage this vile behavior. We should fund research that will find a cure to this disgusting lifestyle.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      All love is great and should be celebrated. Hate (like yours) is ignorant and should be educated.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Pete234

      All "love" should be celebrated? so you support pedophilia and bestiality love I assume

      May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • pat

      But you admit you get those urges?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • atheist

      haha I think the samething about Christianity! Ban it! it's a choice!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The gay lifestyle is an abomination. Being gay is unnatural"

      No it's not the experts around the world have proven you wrong. It's also been documented in over 1500 other species. What your bible classifies as an abomination is male prostitution, idolatry and pagan worship using sex.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Perhaps a gas chamber?

      You Christians have lots of experience using those to eliminate those you believed inferior

      May 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Pete234

      There are more than 10000 species of animals that will cannibalize their own kind. Does that mean humans should start eating other humans? just because animals engage in that behavior that does not make it right

      May 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • sam

      Pete, you're so far out there that no one can even try and take your trolling seriously. Dial it back a notch, maybe. And then troll again.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Does that mean humans should start eating other humans? just because animals engage in that behavior that does not make it right"

      You're just in denial that your prejudice isn't based on real facts and you're clueless about the real truth on this subject. It's why people like you are such a menace in our society.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Rosey Goodman

      Hey dude - you don't like it, you don't have to be it......still does not give YOU the right to pass judgement. Judge ye not lest ye be judged, right? Or better yet, remember that bit about glass houses and the tossing of projectiles.....

      May 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      Pete...thanks for confirming your ignorance.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  2. Glenc

    As a practicing Christian, I don't understand the problem. Marriage is no longer a sacrament, it's a tax dodge. You can get married by a judge, a ship captan, an Elvis. 50% of all marriages only last 7 years with no penalty from the church. And when you find the next "she's the one" the church will marry you. I have been in churches where the preacher was divorced and re-married to a previously married woman and three different sets of kids. Church doesn't have any problem with that. Sooooo if there is no sacrament to marriage, why not let gays enjoy the full privilege of marriage.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Rosey Goodman

      RIGHT ON!!!!!!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Yep

      I can't wait to see the "true" Christians try to refute your point. Well said.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  3. Marv

    Wow... The left preaches tolerance and what do we have here? Sooo much hatred when someone diagrees you leftist. Just wow at the double standards.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • atheist

      I know! It's like those Christians preaching "Love thy neighbor" but never do it.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • BRC

      @Marv,
      It's not hatred because he disagrees; it's hatred because he is trying to take legal action to control how other people live their lives. It's bigotry, and it's worthy of being reviled.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Rosey Goodman

      Just "wow" at your seeming lack of being able to foment a cogent statement.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  4. Scott NC

    I am disappointed in Rev. Graham. It will be forever part of his legacy that he entered this debate on the side of fear, disrespect, and bigotry. Any time this country has attempted to limit the freedom and deny the rights of any group of citizens it has been a black eyes for our nation. I don't ask Rev. Graham to perform a wedding service for gay couples but what I ask him for is to respect the rights of others to define their relationships, religion and beliefs as they have the right to. He may not agree with or understand their life but he should respect all peoples rights to live their life without another group limiting their rights.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Dave

      I'm not.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • A. Goodwin

      I agree. Giving someone else equal rights does not infringe or take away rights from you. It just makes it illegal for people like Graham to enforce their prejudice and hate.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • itsme

      @scott, Thats because he fears God not us humans, and when he dies he going to have to give an account on why he would back a gay marriage law, knowing really well that its an abomination to God

      May 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  5. YeahRight

    Someone has hacked my account. Being gay is 100% wrong and a choice.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Danno

      "Being christian is 100% wrong and a choice."

      Fixed.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • YeahRight

      You are so wrong.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Someone has hacked my account. Being gay is 100% wrong and a choice."

      Only an emotionally immature person would stoop stoop to such a low tactic. I must be getting to you. LMAO!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Stop it. I will report you to CNN.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Danno

      "I'm 100% wrong all the time."

      Fixed.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • YeahRight

      The Bible is clear.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Gay lifestyle is not right.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Danno

      Why do you say that?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      Being ignorant is 100% wrong, but you can fix ignorance.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Glenc

      In so much as there have been gays always, are you so sure it is not genetic? I don't know. But I know one thing,
      if even 1% of gays are genetic then all gays have to be given all rights attributed by law.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "YeahRight

      The Bible is clear.
      May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
      YeahRight

      Gay lifestyle is not right."

      Someone's ego is bruised so they have to steal another person's handle. The real truth that the experts around the world disagrees with you really stung huh? But for the record we know you are only a troll on here who steals handles to stir things up, keep showing the world you have such low self esteem issues.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Sorry guys, I realized I was wrong. Turns out Jesus was gay. No wife, ripped abs, really liked the company of 12 other dudes.... Praise God! Everyone dance!!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Sorry guys, I realized I was wrong. Turns out Jesus was gay. No wife, ripped abs, really liked the company of 12 other dudes.... Praise God! Everyone dance!!"

      Wow more low self esteem issues you really are a coward.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  6. KAJD

    cannot fathom that certain parts of US society are still in the middle ages. Whether a gay couple can marry or not doesn't really concern (affect) me, but what does concern me deeply is that one group of citizens are so blatantly discriminated against causing dire emotional and financial hardship. We should all be marching on Washington to support gay marriage because it truely is just another example of how law makers and religious zealots slowly chip away at the rights of those they don't agree with or understand. Being gay is no more a choice than being black, white or yellow is. It's simply pathetic! Billy Graham is too old to really have mounted this campaign...it's probably his son doing it in his father's name. Graham Sr. always stayed out of politics and I don't recall him being divisive either.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  7. The Truth

    I'm a Christian and I don't care what the government recognizes as a marriage. As long as the government doesn't start forcing churches to perform marriages in their sanctuaries that they go against their beliefs - maintaining our separation of church and state - the state can recognize the union of whoever and whatever. Churches can still hold their beliefs sacred without forcing an entire population to do so.

    And just to put it into perspective here, what if American Muslims sought to get a ban on the human consumption of pork because it's against their religious belief? They would get quickly dismissed. I fail to see how letting two gay people who are already conducting themselves as married people and getting recognized as married by the state have any impact whatsoever on our society. They're already doing it and telling them they can't do it isn't going to change society in any positive way.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Daniel

      This is what I wish as well. I really wish the government would just give the word marriage back to the people. All citizens have a civil union defined as a union between two consenting adults. If a Church chooses to marry a gay couple that is their choice, if a church chooses not, so be it. Some people might see that as bias but we really can't solve ALL the problems. Both sides what to run each other over instead of reach compromise.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • itsme

      so we should just let sin continue to degrade and tear our country apart, thats why the US is falling apart cause Christians never stand up for what is right instead, they bend for what is popular and mainstream and think its ok as long if it doesnt hurt them. This is a christian nation, idc what Obama wants to say but this is God's nation.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  8. StevenR

    They should pass a law against FAT PEOPLE. FAT PEOPLE are GLUTTONS. GLUTTONY is a sin.

    As a matter of FACT, Billy's bible comes out against GLUTTONY TEN TIMES MORE OFTEN THAN GAY LOVE.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  9. JJC1967

    This guy died and nobody told him.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • A. Goodwin

      Now that was freiken funny...

      May 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  10. Rufus

    The anti-Semitic liar strikes again.

    In 1994, H.R. Haldeman's diaries revealed that Graham had taken part in conversations speaking of "Jewish domination of the media." The allegations were so at odds with Graham's public image that most did not believe his account, and Jewish groups paid little attention. Graham released a statement denying that he talked "publicly or privately about the Jewish people, including conversations with President Nixon, except in the most positive terms." He said, "Those are not my words."

    In 2002, however, newly declassified "Richard Nixon tapes" confirmed remarks made by Graham to President Nixon three decades earlier. Captured on the tapes, Graham agreed with Nixon that Jews control the American media, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with Nixon. "This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain," said Graham, agreeing with Nixon's comments about Jews and their influence in American life. Later, Graham mentions that he has friends in the media who are Jewish, including A.M. Rosenthal, saying they "swarm around me and are friendly to me." But, he tells Nixon, "They don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country."

    May 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Rosey Goodman

      Yep.....Graham is not the nice man that he has so painstakingly presented to the masses.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  11. WOT

    Dr. Graham, had little or nothing to say doing the civil rights movement! So why is he talking now about Gays! God said, Go and sin no more to all people. A Legal contract for gays would lessen a lot of the trouble of involement in personal attachment: such as hospital visits, wills, housing, medical, ect.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Rosey Goodman

      How about this - perhaps we as a society stop putting exclusively christian, hetero and patriarchal value judgements on everyone out there.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  12. Terry G

    I agree 100000000%

    May 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I agree 100000000%"

      So obviously you have read anything that the hundred of thousands of experts have written about gays have you?

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      May 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  13. StevenR

    What an evil old b@stard. What part of his religion espouses hate?

    Oh yeah. Billy's religion is all about BILLY. What a useless old jerk.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  14. Ken in MD

    pray for a yes vote.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  15. hilreal

    Everyone should read "Reading the Bible for ALL the wrong reasons". I think Billy is senile and just mouthing what Franklin is putting there. The REAL Billy Graham would never get involved in a poltical discussion like this. Franklin is just trying to further line his nest.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  16. pauleky

    Ugh...more proof of how irrelevant the anti-gay folks are becoming. This can of thinking belongs in the Dark Ages.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  17. tiara

    Last time I checked, this is a democratic country. A man can voice out his opinion without fear. The Reverend Graham is just exercising his rights. Let's just leave him alone.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The Reverend Graham is just exercising his rights. Let's just leave him alone."

      He is trying to drum up support for blocking the civil rights of gays. Would you say the same thing if he was trying to block the civil rights of African Americans? That's the point. He's old school and is opinion is not based on the facts of today about gays!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Someone is posting as me. I am 100% against gay marriage. it is a choice and should not be tolerated in civil society.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • smeeker

      Too bad people like him want to take away freedom from others.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • StevenR

      No. Lets NOT leave him alone. He espouses HATE and is a WORTHLESS THIEF that STOLE from OLD PEOPLE all his WORTHLESS LIFE. What a bag of CRAP this old man is. How HATEFULL and SMALL his outlooks is!

      He deserves to, and no doubt will, GO STRAIGHT TO H3LL for his EVIL DEEDS.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Danno

      Whether it's right or not is not your call. It doesn't infringe on your rights, so it's none of your business.

      You don't get to ban things because they annoy you. If you could, Christianity is the first thing that would go.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Freedom of speech does NOT shelter one from the consquences of what one says.

      Any man who promotes bigotry with his speech deserves to be shouted down.

      You see his rights do not trump my own, so I am using mine to call him a bigoted old fool.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Someone is posting as me. I am 100% against gay marriage. it is a choice and should not be tolerated in civil society"

      More evidence of your low self esteem issue. Wow you are desperate.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  18. DeeCee1000

    In related NC religion / gay news, look up pastor Sean Harris. I know about 1000 people who would like to either shoot him or break his legs. Go look it up. Religion of peace? Ha!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  19. Beau

    Separation of church and state again why is the government involved in peoples personal lives. What goes on in a person bedroom is not any ones business. Billy you are old as dirt and do not speak for everyone in North Carolina.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Scott NC

      I am sick of the "old" excuse for bigotry. Being old should not excuse you from hate. Being a man of faith does not excuse it either. If you are alive and have the capacity to think you have the ability to learn and think. I think it disrespectful to REv. Graham to think he made his comments just because he is old or because he is a man of faith. A bigot, is a bigot old or young. Rev Graham will forever be linked now with bigotry and hate. Because in this debate he ha chosen to defend limiting a group of people from their rights just because they may think or be different than him. It's that simple.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  20. Rosey Goodman

    Sorry meant to say "NOT" pick up on the deception being played.......most folks these days seem not to take the time to look beyond what is being said. Mores the pity.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
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About this blog

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.