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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. divejoy

    I don't discriminates as to a mans personal beliefs. Washington believed that. Rabbis, Priests etc have a right to believe anything but cannot take away my rights.Even a majority cannot do that.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  2. DeeCee1000

    Look up PASTOR SEAN WILLIAMS from North Carolina and see what he's been telling his evil little flock of ignoramuses. Most of these mainstream news organizations are keeping this story off the front page lest the sheeple start to question their own religion.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Dee Dee Ramone

      Isn't that Rev. Sean "Christian Fist Of Fury" Harris?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  3. Pan3

    How mean! If this passes BOYCOT NORTH CAROLINA!

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

      AMEN

      May 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • George

      It is not 'mean'. Behavior once determined to be harmful to society is being looked at in a different way. This is a process of evolution. Communities have a right to determine which behaviors they wish to support and those they wish not to. That is all law is. The world has no Right or Wrong. Humans manufactured those concepts. We did it by believing there is a higher authority. So, the community is now deciding what it wishes to accept and reject. What's the big deal. Man is deciding what behavior is wishes to accept or reject. Right, Wrong...that can be changed to once we dispose of God.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  4. George

    I do believe the government has no business sponsoring any religion. I also believe religious freedom menas we are able to practice our faith publicly without others intefering- Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buhddist, atheist...should all be able to attend a classroom and pry or not without interfering with one another. I also believe a religious marriage ceremony and a civil ceremony should be separated and one should not require the other. A religious marriage should not require a civil contract. A civil contract should not require a religious marriage. While I am against gay marriage I am against straight marriage within the government as well. The government should grant ONLY civil unions/contracts between people. And, if they do not, power of attorney should do. I find no problem with Billy Grahams assesment as to the morality of our country BUT his is based on a higher authority and we seek to dwell in the authority of man. Thus, let us separate the two and allow people to have a choice.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Thanks George. GOVT OUT OF BUSINESS OF LEGISLATING "MARRIAGE" ENTIRELY – CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL – Having equal rights does not mean that govt forces me and my family to agree with everything you believe. That kind of desperate need for acceptance is nothing but intolerance being passed around in name of equal rights. What if I feel I do not have equal rights until everyone agrees with my beliefs entirely. What if Muslims want to be governed by Sharia or say their beliefs are discriminated. Should we allow muslims to legislate sharia by lobbying the govt? Where would this lead us to? The only option is that govt stays out legislating beliefs of one group for the rest of us – whether the group is christian, gays, hindus, muslims or jews. that is true equality and true tolerance. CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL as far as govt is concerned. Marriage should be left to private citizen, his family and faith. Gays should also be be able to get married at churches where they can and should be able to call it marriage.Your having equal rights does not mean that govt forces me and my family to agree with everything you believe. That kind of desperate need for acceptance is nothing but intolerance being passed around in name of equal rights. What if I feel I do not have equal rights until everyone agrees with my beliefs entirely. What if Muslims want to be governed by Sharia or say their beliefs are discriminated. Should we allow muslims to legislate sharia by lobbying the govt? Where would this lead us to? The only option is that govt stays out legislating beliefs of one group for the rest of us – whether the group is christian, gays, hindus, muslims or jews. that is true equality and true tolerance. CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL as far as govt is concerned. Marriage should be left to private citizen, his family and faith. Gays should also be be able to get married at churches where they can and should be able to call it marriage.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Huebert

      Sounds like a good plan to me.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • LinCA

      @George

      Religious people don't own the term "marriage". You can't have it. We'll keep the term "marriage" for unions between any two consenting adults, recognized by the Federal and State governments, with all rights and responsibilities.

      If you want something strictly religious, you can have "religious union", or a similar term. To ensure that the "religious union" is separate from marriage, we should make sure that no Federal or State rights will be granted.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I dont' know, if I were gay, I wouldn't want to get married in a building where I was looked down on as an "abomination". There are plenty of other places to get married. Government should not make churches have to marry gay people. The individual church should be able to decide.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      Why do you fight for two men to marry as if they were man and women yet you will not fight for the right of two women to marry one man?

      May 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "Why do you fight for two men to marry as if they were man and women yet you will not fight for the right of two women to marry one man?"
      Who says I don't?

      Polygamy should be legal if there are sufficient assurances that all parties involved are consenting adults, enter into it of their own free will and are equal partners in it.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      It was the intent of Congress to provide for the stay at home spouse 70 years ago based on a Christian view that the mother needs to stay home with the children. Things have changed would you approve removing all health benefits, pension and social security benefits and rights to all spouses married after 2011?

      May 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "It was the intent of Congress to provide for the stay at home spouse 70 years ago based on a Christian view that the mother needs to stay home with the children."
      How is this relevant? Ignorance was rampant, and still is. With some 80% of the US population identifying as christian, you can't avoid some ending up in Congress. Some can't separate their imaginary world from our shared reality. But not everything done out of religious reasoning (for lack of a better term) is bad.

      You said, "Things have changed would you approve removing all health benefits, pension and social security benefits and rights to all spouses married after 2011?"
      I'm not suggesting that anything changes to the Federal and State benefits, or responsibilities, of marriage. I'm only arguing to remove the discrimination on entering into one.

      I am also suggesting that if a religious sect wishes to recognize their own form of unions, they should be free to do so. These unions should, of course, still have to comply with all Federal and State laws (consenting adults only, no close relatives, no children or animals, etc.). These sects should be able to restrict entry into these unions to anyone they dislike. They should be free to refuse to join followers of different fairy tales, or left handed people, etc. They should be able, but not required, to register their union with the State and have both a civil marriage and a religious union. Religious unions not registered with the State should be simply considered as cohabiting adults for the law (and be subject to pertinent law). Religious unions should not entitle the participants to any rights or benefits under the law (unless it is also registered with the State as a civil marriage).

      Couples that were married in the past but only want to have a religious union should be able to request recognition from their cult, and file for annulment of their civil marriage.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  5. DeeCee1000

    I think someone should come up with a religion that requires followers to torture and kill all Christian priests and preachers.. . .similar to the judeo-christian "bible".

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

      That is called islam. How about staying positive and form a religion that marries same gender couples and then sue in federal court on the basis of religious freedom.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  6. Everett Wallace

    Hey North Carolina my Birth State ya cookin with crisco now I LOVE the ban on this gay stuff and so does GODTHEFATHERGODTHESONGODTHEHOLYSPIRIT. One thing though, billy had so much stuff named after him there, parkways stuff like that world wide known preacher and north carolina supposed to be his home why didn't he have a voice when it was voted into existance or was he an advooocate for it then. No matter Thank You.

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

      Have another scoop of Criso. I hear it's darn tootin' good fer ya.

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

      You are wrong. I am not in favor of this amendment.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      Everett: Pretty arrogant speaking for god.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  7. Michael

    Again, a function of the church is being confused with a function of the state. The church can define marriage for its members however it sees fit (though I might disagree with their stance), however if the people of the state decide marriage can be the union of any two people who choose to make a life together, then the state can and should abide by the will of the people.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Roscoe Chait

    Vote for marriage? You mean, with the high divorce and cheating rate it's done well so far? Ask John Edwards.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • N C Wafer

      I agree with you 100%.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  9. The Amazing Insights of Bible Bob, Christian

    Gosh, I think National Day Of Forcing Politicians To Kiss My Special Interest's Ass is going really well

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

      A+

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • DJ Reality

      Amen to that!!!

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

      R'amen

      May 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • James PDX

      Since they withheld my LIKE button, LIKE!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  10. rjatlanta

    They take the Christ out of Christian. The make an idol of the Bible too.
    At least now I understand why his son is such a bigot. H didn't fall far from the tree.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  11. WOT

    Snackle fish, Americal will burn if they tried to bring back SLAVERY!

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

      No, religious evolution helped rid us of slavery. Yeah...the past could be used as an argument to state otherwise but I witnessed the busses full of white Chrstians from the Boston area head south to walk arm and arm with the oppressed. Evolution is not just a physical thing.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  12. Ajmbkf

    You have all this anger because you say Christians are trying restricting people's lives, then what about men who want to have multiple wives or men or women who want children as husbands or wives then all of a sudden you don't agree with that because your moral code doesn't like it. Well you are doing the same thing!! All I'm saying is where does it stop? When ppl want animals as husbands and wives? Go ahead open the can of worms and you will see a lot of ppl crying injustice for some weird things but don't forget to be "tolerant"

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

      Honestly, I think you should be able to marry however many people you want. As long as everybody is in agreement and nobody is being forced into it. Trust me though, most women would not be in agreement with sharing their husband with somebody else.

      Animal/Man marriage is wrong because the animal can't say no. It would be the same as being a pedophile.

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

      i don't care about people having multiple Spouses, as long as they are consenting adults. People can legally have multiple roommates, and they can all sleep together, so I don't care. Makes no difference to me.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Not so, Romeo

      Well stupid, it's a concept called "informed consent." Animals cannot give informed consent, nor can minors.

      You are using the "slippery slope" fallacy, which is of course a fallacy.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • smb04d

      Yeah I agree with Jacques. As long as everyone is in agreement with the arrangement and no one feels forced. As for the whole children thing...ehh...that maybe going a little too far. I don't want kids, but I sure love children and it would break my heart to see a child mentally messed up because of someone else.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Pan3

      What a ridiculous argument, a contract is between 2 adult people. Grow up!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • atheist

      There is no law against multiple people cohabitating. My neighbors down the street consist of a guy and two girls who are rommates. For all I know, they are sleeping with each other. Do I care? Nope. Not my business.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • BRC

      @Ajmbkf,
      False comparison. Man-Man, Woman-woman, man-woman, these are all between two consenting adults. Man-girl, Woman-boy, that is marriage between an adult and a child, a child is not on the same level as an adult, and cannot give consent, remains incomparible and illegal. Man-duck, Woman-horse these are animals, they do not have the cognitive processes to consent, and are incomparable, remains illegal (though in an out there sort of thought who really cares, at least you know they're not going to breed).

      As for polygamy, there is no valid argument against it, except for teh intense legal battles that would ensue during a separtion (who gets custoday of children, how is property split between multiple partners), sinec marriage in this sense is based on teh government recognized union of people, they have a right to prevent tht due to the legal and civil unreast that could come out of it. If a contract that adequeately adressed all the possible seperation concerns was written up, there really wouldn't be an argument against it, as long as ALL the members of the marriage agreed (ass in all the current husbands/wives agreed with the new one coming in).

      May 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Floyd

      Ajmbkf, your arguement is so far beyond reasonable you seem to be from mars. While i do not have an arguement against poligamy as long as all involved are legally allowed to consent, it's fine with me.
      HOWEVER...
      marrying a child is wrong because the child cannot give consent.
      marrying your dog is wrong because an animal cannot give consent.
      marrying your toaster is wrong because it cannot give consent.
      marrying anyone else you love and loves you (you know, love, what CHRIST preached about) and can give consent is AOK.
      I wish people like you would stop trying to pervert the arguement with pedophelia and beastiality when they not of the same realm.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • smb04d

      Atheist...then my suggestion is buy a bottle of wine and join in on the "party" hee hee jk

      May 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Ajmbkf

      If someone cries and complains enough anything can be legal, ooh so If someone wants change that part of "marriage" that one person or thing doesn't have to consent to it then it shouldn't happen? Then you guys are restricting that person.. Stupids..

      May 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • James PDX

      Why would I restrict how many spouses you can have? Even the Bible lists tons of prominent figures who had multiple wives. Heck, incest was common in the Bible too. Adam and Eve started it all, remember? And Noah's family restarted it. Who did they procreate with? Each other. And I'm tired of the old "Will we let people marry animals" argument. Where it stops is when one party is unwilling/unable to give their consent.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • atheist

      Actually Ajmb, consent wasn't always a part of marriage. Ever hear of arranged marriages? Men used to BUY wives. But you know, we REDEFINED marriage once before. This notion of consentual marriage is very modern.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Why is it that fundiots (fundamentalist idiots) spend such an inordinate amount of time fixated on, and fantasizing about boinking their brother, diddling the doggie, banging the baby, sucking the Subaru, and groping a group?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • sigh

      Obviously (well maybe not to you) the argument about marrying children is just stupid, they aren't considered compos mentis to make that decision. As to plural marriages, I think the issue there is tax concerns...some of the codes would need to be rewritten but I would venture to say that the majority of people who are for gay marriage (which, I might add, is a majority in this country) would also support plural marriage.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  13. Bill

    who can people with both sets of organs marry?

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

      That's funny because I've been asking the same thing. The fact that Hermaphradites even exist is enough proof to me that God doesn't exist. After all, the bible assumes that everyone is a man or a woman.... that's just simply not the case and if God was real, then he really screwed up some peoples genetic makeup. Come on people, open your eyes. God isn't real.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Pan3

      Xtians would just have those people killed.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • James PDX

      They can marry themselves, which is going to give them some awesome tax breaks!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      We try not to think about that sort of thing here. It tends to squick the beautiful people out, you know.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  14. atheist

    Hey Christians, guess what! Gay marriage is legal in Canada! Yikes, and they are so close too! I hope God has good aim!

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

      and living in Canada sucks..it is the epitome of the dictatorship of relativsm

      May 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  15. chief

    DR. Graham ; LIVE AND LET LIVE ...LOVE AND LET LOVE....SO VERY SIMPLE TO DO

    May 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  16. chrisbalch

    If you are so in favor of marriage, ban divorce.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  17. LibertyBell

    Amen to Billy Graham. Thank you for keeping this country in prayers. One day eveyone will be judge. Now is the time to open our eyes. And those aetheist who does not believe in the existence of God, we will still pray for you to understand the faith and grace of God, which only can be given who wants to receive God's grace.
    I still believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, regardless of consequences of divorce (as long as divorce is based on biblical grounds). Man and Woman are uniquely made for this purpose.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      So you are saying that one day God will judge? Then why do you feel the need to be judging? Let them live their life. If you have faith that God will punish them for their "wickedness", then he'll take care of it. And if you are afraid God isn't going to punish them, then maybe he doesn't care.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • kldgbb

      Man and woman are uniquely suited for mating, but that is not the same as marriage which is human-created construct.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Huebert

      You believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, GREAT, marry a woman, I'm assuming that you are a man sorry if I'm wrong. Now let people who don't share your views get married to whoever they please.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Spelling fail.

      Punctuation fail.

      Syntax fail.

      Grammar Fail.

      Perhaps you should have spent more time in 4th grade?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  18. IndeePendant

    Billy Graham is not God and neither God's relative. He is a simple humanbeing just like all os us. He chose religion as his business, earned a lot of money and handed over the reigns to his kith n kin. Whatever he says we don't have to care. He is just another minial human trying to exploit people's feelings.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  19. M. Meyers

    As they have for thousands of years, Christians preach love, but practice hate.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Pan3

      right on Meyers

      May 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  20. Voice of Reason

    CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL - GOVT OUT OF BUSINESS OF LEGISLATING MARRIAGE ENTIRELY - Your having equal rights does not mean that govt forces me and my family to agree with everything you believe. That kind of desperate need for acceptance is nothing but intolerance being passed around in name of equal rights. What if I feel I do not have equal rights until everyone agrees with my beliefs entirely. What if Muslims want to be governed by Sharia or say their beliefs are discriminated. Should we allow muslims to legislate sharia by lobbying the govt? Where would this lead us to? The only option is that govt stays out legislating beliefs of one group for the rest of us – whether the group is christian, gays, hindus, muslims or jews. that is true equality and true tolerance. CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL as far as govt is concerned. Marriage should be left to private citizen, his family and faith. Gays should also be be able to get married at churches where they can and should be able to call it marriage.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:30 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.