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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."

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    BREAKING: Billy Graham is a hateful bigot.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Lois

      I believe YOU are the one who is hateful.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  2. WVLady63

    AMEN!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  3. Winston846

    How can anyone take a man who thinks Jesus is 900 feet tall seriously?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Winston846

      My bad... Oral Roberts thinks Jesus is 900 feet tall. What the heck, all these TV evangelists are the same to me anyway.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  4. chief

    DR. G is more than evil ; we are all human with different thoughts ,desires and pattern of lives to embrace, still we are all people , living ones own life not mentally exterminating oithers human species because of their ways of being happy and bonding with people the ways that is comfortable to them not being on remote control for him to dictate human behavior .

    May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • sam

      Puff puff pass, chief!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  5. Observant Historian

    From Christian Media Research: "Dr. Graham long ago slipped into the service of the Beast of Babylon,", and "Dr. Billy Graham is the singular most influential false prophet in America."
    From http://www.jesus-is-savior.com: "Billy Graham shamelessly subverts the faith" and "except for the Pope in Rome, is the chief deceiver in the world today."
    From http://www.atruechurch.info: Billy Graham "is not a real Christian, but a false one, and is an enemy of God."
    How am I supposed to know which Christians to listen to?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  6. TxTomato

    I find it puzzling that Billy Graham has managed to keep his politics separate from his public faith his entire life. Now, suddenly at age 93, just when an important vote is on the horizon in North Carolina, do you really think he just decided to go public with is political beliefs? I think not. Look a little deeper at his children and their public displays of opinions on this subject. I'm wondering if the elder reverend even has a clue that he is the subject of this debate. If he is aware and is really behind this, then I have just suffered a tremendous dissapointment.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  7. Mama2009

    Why mock anyone for their position simply because it deffers from yours? No one is denying anyones rights. Only their intent to redefine that which is at the very base of humanity. Wake up people. Name calling against someone who's beliefs are in oposition to yours doesn't make your opinion any more right than his.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • sam

      Did you read the article? Did you even read your own post? Have you seen any news at all in the last couple of years? No?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Rachel

      Perfectly said, Mama. Gays and supporters of gays will do/say anything (as ridiculous as it will be) to justify their beliefs – even bashing those who believe in God. They come out in droves, as if this is a New World and God doesn't exist.

      All we can do is continue to pray for them, and trust in our great Creator to handle these types of people.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "No one is denying anyones rights"

      Yes you are by not allowing gays to marry their partners and protect their kids.

      These are the rights that they will be denied.

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  8. Joshua Ludd

    You never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage? Then you haven't paid much attention to your own religious book which has a very different definition of marriage than has been accepted for centuries. Also, your religious book has multiple examples of god being totally okay with men having concubines and sleeping with slaves and such. But, then again, why in the world should YOUR religion determine who can and cannot marry.. even those who do not share that religion? Gay marriage isn't moral decline. Hatred and bigotry is.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  9. 6foot2

    Time changes everything.This is really not an issue, the majority of Americans support gay marriage, It will be the law of the land in the next decade.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Rachel

      Um, no, the majority of us do NOT support gay marriage. Where did you get your statistics?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Mama2009

      No, the majority of Americans in our location do not support gay marriage. That may be true in some areas but not all areas!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • sam

      Rachel, Mama...it's not supported in your small backwater areas. We understand. You...are not the majority.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Rachel

      Sam, I hate to burst your little bubble here BUT.... gays will never be the majority, pal. Never in this lifetime or in future generations.

      Wake up, hun.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "No, the majority of Americans in our location do not support gay marriage. That may be true in some areas but not all areas!"

      What's going to happen is just like what happened to the civil rights for African Americans eventually it will be brought to the Supreme Court and the blocks will be found unconstitutional.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Xtian fundie logic

      @Rachel – won't you please join us in the 21st century?

      An August 2010 CNN poll became the first national poll to show majority support for same-sex marriage,[2] with numerous polls after it showing majority support.[3][4][5][6]

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/weekinreview/22gay.html

      http://surveys.ap.org/data/GfK/AP-GfK%20Poll%20August%20NCC%20topline.pdf

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/First-Time-Majority-Americans-Favor-Legal-Gay-Marriage.aspx

      http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/1121a6%20Gay%20Marriage.pdf

      May 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Rachel – current polling data shows that 53-55% of adults nationwide support gay marriage.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  10. Rachel

    This man clearly has it right. Redefining marriage to allow in dysfunction and perverse actions, is a definite characteristic of the downfall of our society.

    This world, as we have known it for centuries, is clearly on its last leg.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Alicia

      He is an irrelevant, shrivelled up old fart with ideology to match.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • atheist

      wow, if it's been on it's last leg for centuries, that's a pretty sturdy leg. You do realize that other countries permit gay marriage, and you can't do a thing about it. So there will still be gay marriage screwing up your world somewhere.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Being born gay is no more abnormal than being born left-handed.

      Not sure why you are unable or unwilling to understand that.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Hick Farmer

      And intolerant morons like you are further proof of that.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      The only thing you have to offer really, with your religion, is FEAR, and nothing else. In the future, your precious religion will one be known for what it really is; The Great Deception. Humankind will be all the better off without it. May your religion R.I.P. in the trash heap where all the other religions have ended up.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Nick

      They have been saying that for over 2000 years

      May 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Rachel

      Hey atheist (wow, the name alone says it all).... my world is just fine, thank you, though it is rather tough to watch the mass dysfunction from this place in this great world, realizing that there isn't anything we can do for these type of people who are clearly suffering. Its really sad to watch.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • sam

      Hmm, nothing dysfunctional or perverse in straight marriages these days. Nope. Doing fine.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • sam

      God, Rachel, I'm sorry it's so hard for you to watch – thank goodness you have your lofty moral perspective to look down from. Keep up the great work!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • sigh

      Just curious, where are you from, Rachel?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  11. Wade

    Really, the fact that such an amendment even got to be a potential vote is pathetic. This is not even about marriage which takes out the one even minor argument the anti-gay rights people had, this is just pure and simple gay/lesbian exclusion-ism being practiced by a state. It is disgusting, and speaks just how far NC and the rest of the USA have to go.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  12. Shane Botwin

    The decline of morality has nothing to do with gays getting married. It has more to do with straight couples who have five or six kids that they can't afford and stay single in order to milk the system, then split up and fight for custody of the Sony Playstation.

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

      Amen to that.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Nancy Botwin

      You tell'm, son!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • bizziel

      "clapping" Well said. People who can't take care of there damn kids are the biggest burden on the system.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  13. guest

    The Bible says that God gave Men free will. So why do Men feel like they can force people to do what the Bible says? Why can't they just let God be the Judge.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      That's like asking: Why can't they just let the Spaghetti God be the judge? I don't believe in your mythical irrational ignorant myths.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Guest

      God will judge. everyone. And once we get to that place in death there will be no question that God's decision is JUST.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Totally agree with you guest. I don't believe in the Bible but if, according to Christians, it is up to God to judge, why are Christians so intent on not letting gay people marry? Live and let live.

      To me, it shows me that those people have no faith that their God is going to judge them so they are taking matters into their own hands. Keep your nose out of other people's business.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      You can take your disgusting "god" and shove him up your a**.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Well I don't agree completely...

      Should say, I agree with the idea of not judging people. If you really think what they are doing is wrong, then your God will sort them out. That is, unless you lack faith. You don't lack faith do you?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  14. Chad

    How has Hatred become a family value?
    How has Discrimination become a family value?
    How has Bigotry, Judgment of others, Arrogance, and Mean Spiritedness become family values?
    You need look no farther than this man, and the hundreds of church leaders he has inspired...
    Which leads to the questions: How can we not do better than this? How can we not demand more conscience and humility from our leaders?
    How can we not demand civil rights for all people, in a nation that was born on the idea of equality and justice for all?
    How can we say the Pledge of Allegiance, and then go out and try to codify our hatred of other people because of who they are born?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • jarrett622

      Exactly. You said what I was thinking.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • greeneyes

      @ Chad, you raised good points... yep, our American history is sad, it is even more sad on the treatment against african americans... sadly, our early Presidents owned and mistreated slaves... you see, the white race felt inferior to blacks, so they stripped us of our family, our cultures.. i dont want to digress from this blog, but no where in the bible does GOD state color, we all have the same blood... GOD is love, but sadly MAN is evil and greedy and our world is evident of that.... GOD is about humility, but when GOD is removed from the core functions of society, life, than no wonder we have such evil lurking, kids killing parents, parents killing kids, corporate greed... I could on and on, but they removed GOD out of public schools and look at all the foul events taking place in schools.. During the Roman empire, greed and evil existed, that is why Jesus was killed, he was considered a mockery... but when you read that the man stood for, beleive in, simple values: love, kindness, not judging".... MAN has eroded everything, NOT GOD...

      May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  15. metb

    "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders." Matthew 15:19

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

      Sounds like "traditional" marriage to me!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • sam

      Sounds like an episode of Bridezillas.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  16. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The death of the gay marriage resistence.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  17. DeeCee1000

    While the US Government is off in other countries fighting the Taliban and Al Quaeda, we have our own versions here in the US preaching from pulpits all over America against fellow American citizens. Look up PASTOR SEAN HARRIS.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  18. greeneyes

    Atheist people never cease to amaze me... you must be really fearful of knowing GOD, you see, GOD stands for a universal word throughout the entire world LOVE!. To slam and use such nasty words against Mr. Graham is only evident of your lack of peace and love in your own lives... He is upholding the word of GOD, so dont judge him ...GOD loves sinners, as he loves us all, he does not love the sin... read sodom and gamorrah.... evil is evil and yes, Gays are nice people, law abiding people, but their sin is what GOD detest and it is what it is... so before you all evil atheist, non-beleivers slam Mr. Graham, check your own spiritual life...I guess atheist dont have one and that my friends is very sad..... your life is empty, unfilled and you rely on the things of the world to make you happy.... The world is filled with sinners, hyprocrites, evil doers and yep, I sin to, as no one is sinless, but GOD makes it very clear in his teachings... but then again, if you dont honor the bible, than all of you are living on "auto pilot" there are no consequences of being evil, harmful to others....

    May 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Actually. . .studies have proven that atheists are more compassionate than religious folks. . .and that atheists actually use their brains to think and analyze things. You're the loser.

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

      Exactly what does this have to do with passing civil laws that apply to everyone of any or no religion?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • NotBuyingIt

      When you start campaigning against fat people and their mortal sin of gluttony, then perhaps I will take you seriously. That doesn't mean I won't still think you're a delusional moron, but at least then you'll be consistent. Until that day, you're just a bigot trying to mask your ignorance with religion.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Mama2009

      Ditto!

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

      @ Deecee 1000, I hardly consider myself a loser, when GOD is love... how can you possible argue that? do you know the definition of LOVE? let me use simple terms:Intense affection, enthusiasm, fondness., joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness... How can I or any other believer possibly LOSE with having these traits within our heart... to not want to help someone less fortunate, show humility... have you lost your mind? this has nothing to do with anyone's intellect....unbelievable... thank GOD that every since President in the fine cournty of ours has NEVER been an atheist and never will............ If atheist were at the helm, we'd all go to hell in a hurry.....

      May 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Madtown

      He is upholding the word of GOD
      ---–
      How is it the "word of God"(assume you're referring to the bible), when it's been written, edited, had individual works selected, had individual works rejected, translated, and had new versions published.........and all by human beings? It's the "word of man – about God".

      May 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • YeahRight

      “read sodom and gamorrah..”

      Duh that has nothing to do with gays now be a good Christian and read Eziekiel because it states the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was bad hospitality!

      “your life is empty, unfilled and you rely on the things of the world to make you happy.”

      That’s a complete lie – so you just broke one of the Ten Commandments – what a hypocrite.

      “but their sin is what GOD detest and it is what it is”

      Nowhere in your bible does your god condemn the saved loving respectful relationship of gay couples. What it does condemn is male prostitution, idolatry and pagan worship using sex.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • just sayin

      Greeny, God hasn't said or written one word...only man. You trust and have faith in the men who say they speak on behalf of a God.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • YeahRight

      The problem with your argument is that God doesn't exist, and you can't prove otherwise. So please explain why we should just take your word for it. Christianity has never demonstrated any truth to any of their beliefs. Get back to us when you have something of substance. Until then, leave other people alone and stay in your delusion churches praying for god to show himself. Go ahead, we'll wait.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • just sayin

      Christianity as well as other religions is based on the absence their God. It is called faith.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  19. Snacklefish

    Next measure on the ballot: a challenge to the Federal government's right to enforce the 13th Amendment.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  20. pat

    We have gay marriage in Massachucetts with no problem. We also have the lowest divorce rate of any state.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • William dodge

      God Loves me and I'm Gay
      God don't love cristian haters and that's in the bible

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 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.