home
RSS
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. Voice of Reason

    YOU WANT EQUAL RIGHTS AND FAIRNESS?? CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL – GOVT OUT OF BUSINESS OF LEGISLATING MARRIAGE ENTIRELY – END OF DISPUTE. 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. FAIR AND EQUAL.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • EagleEye2

      Spoken like a true h o m o !

      May 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Spoken like a true h o m o !"

      Spoken like a true prejudice bigot.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • upstatenyman

      @eagleeye2, you know what they say....it takes one to know one!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  2. Ajmbkf

    This really boils down to one thing do you want to restrict gay beliefs or Christian beliefs.. Either way you at fighting against what you think your protecting. Christians can have nothing but Love for gay ppl And not agree with them on certain things. This doesn't mean we hate them and are trying to persecute them we are just having a opinion. It's foolish to force someone to think the way you want them to so there has to be some understanding. I don't get why so many ppl on here are so in favor of multiple wives when you let the Mormons hide in the hills of Utah and no one is crying for their rights. Is brainwashing considered consent?

    May 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • BRC

      @Ajmbkf,
      It's not a battle between two beliefs, it's one groups beliefs versus other individual's rights. Christians don't believe in same gender marriage. That's a belief, they're welcome to not marry someone who has the same parts as them. LGBT people want to have the right to marry their life partner, this right would in no way effect the Christian's beliefs. However, the Christians are trying to leverage their believes to affect the other people's RIGHTS. That's not how this country is supposed to work. The beliefs will get more respect when their application is less reprehensible.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • tkogrady

      That isn't the point – The Christians are saying those gay people, who pay the same taxes as everyone else, are restricted from the same rights as married people. Think about two gay people who live together for 50 years and one is in the hospital and dying. Without marriage rights, some jerk at the hospital can deny visitation rights to the other partner. It's really about equal protection under the law for all tax paying citizens. Keep the religion out of the law. It's civilian law, not religious law (see how well that worked in Iran . . . or Salem Massachusetts for that matter).

      May 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "This doesn't mean we hate them and are trying to persecute them we are just having a opinion"

      That opinion is leading to the blocking of their civil rights that is UNAMERICAN!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • wendy jane

      You don't have any love for gay people; get real. You can "not agree" with someone all you want, passing laws against them having the basic rights (to visit each other in the hospital, make medical decisions for each other, ect) is not love and none of your damn business.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  3. AgrippaMT

    Once again Billy Graham proves that he is still a racist and a bigot. Remember when he and Richard Nixon sat together and made disparaging racist comments about jews? Billy is still at it even though he is senile now.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  4. derp

    Yes, lets put civil rights out for a vote.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • wendy jane

      It's been proven throughout this countries history that the majority never vote to allow rights for the minority. It's not even about granting "special rights" but the right to live the same way as the majority.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  5. Thinks2010

    I'm sick of these people who make such pronouncements and pass such laws claiming religious freedom when what they are doing is denying everybody else the right to practice their beliefs. What they really mean is they feel free do practice their religious beliefs and you should feel free to practice their religious beliefs, but if your beliefs differ from theirs you should just forget about it.

    These people confuse s3x with love. While ideally they would always go together, that is not always the case. They pass these laws to punish certain kinds of s3x, but these laws also trespass on love. This North Carolina law will deny loving couples the ability to be by each other's sides providing aid and comfort at times of crisis, in illness and death. What hard hearts these so-called christians have. This law will also impose religious belief on secular matters (tax issues, insurance issues, inheritance issues, etc.)

    I live in a part of the country where there is gay acceptance, I am both hetero and christian and I have gay friends and co-workers. I was overjoyed for them when a law was passed allowing gay marriage. I saw the love and joy it bought to their world. I was heartbroken when it was taken away again. I have no problem with individual religions saying they will not perform church marriages for gay people. I think that is their right. However, I do have a problem with them saying the government cannot perform gay marriages. I think the term marriage should be reserved for the religious ceremonies, but that the governmentally recognized contract currently called marriage should be given another name (perhaps civil union) and should be open to both hetero couples and gay couples. That way, a marriage ceremony would be a religious event and the church, synagog, temple, or mosque that performed it could issue a marriage certificate in recognition of the religious union. However, if any couple, gay or straight, religiously married or not, wants governmental recognition of their union they should have to apply for and receive a government certificate (perhaps a Civil Union Certificate). This way what is "Caesar's would be rendered unto Caesar and what is God's would be rendered unto God.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  6. chilez

    Thank God there is at least (1) Christian Minister that is not afraid to speak the Gospel, where are all the multimillionaire televangelist? Oh Im sorry anyone who has money will never be offended by these earthly millionaires, they will skip around the word to keep all of you coming in the doors and making that offering.The word of God will draw you near or drive you away and the TRUTH drives Most Americans away, because if you live by the word of God you MUST be held accountable and you must be responsible!!!!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • wendy jane

      Drink your juice Shelby...

      May 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • John

      That's hilarious.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • God

      Where is the gospels does it speak of gay marriage?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  7. James PDX

    If God is all powerful, all knowing, and perfect, then he knew in advance exactly who everyone of us would be and what we would do, and which of us he would damn to an eternity in Hell. Knowing that, he chose to create us anyway. Why did God knowingly create flawed people and then punish them for those flaws? Why not just create perfect people who he wouldn't subject to an eternity in Hell? And if God is so great and Heaven so perfect, why did many of his angels turn on him? Didn't God know that was going to happen too when he created them? So God created Lucifer specifically to be evil and then banished him for it? God isn't a child anymore. He needs to learn to take repsonsibility for his actions. If I create a person in a laboratory, know in advance that it is going to go kill a school full of children if I bring it to life, and I do so anyway, I'm not going to blame that person.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • John

      Don't try to use "reason" or "logic". Their arguments are impervious to such things.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • John Ericksen

      Sounds as though you have God all neatly boxed up in your own presuppositions. How convenient! Now you're free to be god in any way you like.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Michael

      The answer to this is simple, but before you jump to a defense or arguement to counter what I'm saying, I want you to really think about it. The simple answer is Love!! The reason God created us, knowing we would fail is love. I'll put it to you this way would it mean more to you for someone to marry you because they choose you and fell in love with you or because they had no other choice because either you made them to have no other choice or they knew nothing else?

      My guess is that most rational people would go with the first option. Well there is a reason we are like that, because God made us in His image, meaning that innate desire to be loved out of a desire for us and not just a robot made to, is a picture of how God is. Sure, God could have created people and said now bow and worship and give us no choice, but where is the love in that? I won't spend a great deal of time on this subject, but you can't really know what love is without knowing what the opposite of love is. What would the term love mean if I didn't know what hate meant?

      With that said, I do want to point out that when God created Adam and Eve, He didn't create them with sin, they were sinless, but God did provide another option to them and warned them not to eat of the tree (because that was not his desire), but how could they truly love God if they didn't have any other option.

      Since God knew that we would fail, He already had in place Plan B, before we even fell and he planned the ultimate act of love, giving His only son to die for our sins. Knowing that his blood would free us from our sins and restore our relationship to Him. You ask why He had to send his son to die and again the answer is Love. The Bible says this in John 15:13, Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. So, it was to show humanity His intense Love for us, as well as to make atonement for our sins.

      I was taught as a child by my parents, that for every thing you do in life there is a consequence, whether good or bad, and that is so true. Even if you don't believe in God, you could certainly agree with that statemnt. Same with sin, there is a consequence for sin, which the Bible teaches is death. Bad thing (sin) = bad consequence....the beautiful thing about God though, is that he paid our penalty (bad consequence) for us and that all we have to do is accept His free gift. Loving Him is so easy when you understand what He done for you. I'm sure on this type of platform most will write off my words, but my prayer is that this revelation of Jesus would pierce your heart and reveal His love to you in an undeniable way! God Bless

      May 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  8. wendy jane

    Gay marriage is aready illegal in that state. The amendment is to also outlaw domestic partnerships and civil unions. If two people of the same gender live together as a couple how is that hurting anyone else or anyone else's business? Things like civil unions are to give couples rights like the right to visit each other in the hospital and make medical decisions for each other. How can anyone want to take that right away from someone? People need to stop trying to hide their hate behind the bible.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • david

      I don't think that most people who are for this amendment are hateful people. We're just people who are trying our best to live a highly ethical life guided by the word of God. I don't hate gay people...I strongly disagree with their choices and I do think that lifestyles like the gay lifestyle, the goth lifestyle, the satanic lifestyle, the atheist lifestyle and others DO hurt society.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • wendy jane

      Really? So they why aren't their laws against goth or atheist couples getting married or having a civil union? Still waiting for people to say how gay couples hurt society? Too funny! I think it's the cheating divorced having kids with multiple people straights that are ruining society.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Killdeer

      David you ARE hateful and bigoted. Period!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • wendy jane

      "We're just people who are trying our best to live a highly ethical life guided by the word of God."

      Then do so; how are gay people stopping you? What you really mean is "This is how I believe it's right to live and believe and everyone else should do so too." I really can't stand the people who can't just be honest.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "We're just people who are trying our best to live a highly ethical life guided by the word of God. I don't hate gay people...I strongly disagree with their choices and I do think that lifestyles like the gay lifestyle, the goth lifestyle, the satanic lifestyle, the atheist lifestyle and others DO hurt society."

      Yeah and out of all of that group the only one your blocking of their civil rights is gays. Duh! So what about all the divorced people wanting to get remarried, they are living a lifestyle of adultery but you aren't running out blocking their civil rights now are you. What a bunch of hypocrites.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  9. Faith

    Leviticus 20:13

    May 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Leviticus 20:13"

      LMAO – that's part of the holy code and not relevant since Christians don't have to abide by it. By the way what about the rest of Leviticus? The next time your child talks back to you, you have to stone them to death. Or how about the women have to marry their rapist. LOL!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jan

      Leviticus 11:12
      How's that shellfish abomination working out for ya?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • gherrriey

      Leviticus also requires women on their period to be "put apart" for 7 days, and anyone that comes into physical contact with a menstruating woman will be considered unclean until evening. I think it's fair to say that whole book is out of date.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Brad

      So slavery, animal sacrifice and countless other items should also be done? Please, get a clue.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  10. BRC

    Dear God,
    I don't generally pray, since I don't really thin you exist, but I kep reading this message that says prayer changes things, so here we go.

    I think there's been a mix-up; please take Billy Graham, and give us back Billy Mays. Thanks. Hominus-Dominus, spectacles-testicles-wallet-watch.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  11. bj

    Father forgive them – they don't know what they're saying.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • just sayin

      God...you are fired

      May 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  12. just sayin

    No surprise the Christian Taliban is against freedoms while in their mind they are engaged in a war. They mirror the Taliban in the Middle East.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  13. Jason

    but King solomon had " seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines;" 1 Kings Chapter 11 Polygamy is ok then?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Yes it is. If the man is capable of taking care of all his wives and treat them fairly.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  14. Anomic Office Drone

    I'm not a religious guy, but it seems to me that if you really love God, you shouldn't want to sully his good name by mixing him up in politics.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  15. Amanda VA

    Galatians 3:28

    28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Right from the Bible. And seriously folks, leave the judgement for God. Is it really going to affect your life if gays and lesbians get married? Nope. Besides, us heteros make a mockery of it anyway. I highly doubt that the gay and lesbian community will single handedly destroy something that is becoming more and more of a joke everyday with all of the cheaters and divorce and 72 day marriages. Live and let live and end hatred. Just because someone thinks differently doesn't make them evil.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Dusty2701

      It's not about the person...it's about the sin.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • just sayin

      Dusty, what does sin have to do with our laws??????????

      May 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Spoken as a true agent of satan’s on the Earth.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Amanda VA

      And if it is sin and thats what it's about, just who are you to judge? Sin is sin and we are all guilty of it Dusty.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • .......

      "Spoken as a true agent of satan’s on the Earth."

      Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "It's not about the person...it's about the sin."

      Duh according to your bible you are all sinners. It's funny but divorce is a huge problem in America but yet you don't see Christians coming out trying to block them from getting remarried and blocking their civil rights. DUH!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • just sayin

      Christians are responsible for at least 80% of our problems in America.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  16. pdxmum

    Really, the Bible says marriage is between a (as in one) man and a (as in one) woman? Because most of the marriages I saw in the Bible were between a man and a number of women. If the good Reverend wants to bring back Biblical marriage, he probably should start campaigning for polygamy...oh, but not polyandry. The Lord isn't cool with that, either.

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

      Right – – and the first marriage was between Adam and his clone, Eve (remember, God didn't create Adam and Eve, he created just Adam, then took a rib to clone Eve). Never mind the icky aspect that all subsequent marriages were between related offspring since we're all hypothetically related to Adam and Eve.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  17. jeff

    Wow the "Star Wars" "Dark Lord" is looking bad I thought he died in the 6th miovie

    May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Angelique Bouchard

      He looks more like the demonic preacher from Poltergeist II.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  18. Evangenital

    Let him rot already.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  19. A Theist

    Good for Billy. He's on the right side.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      He can believe being gay is wrong all he wants. Don't force other people to follow your beliefs.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Good for Billy. He's on the right side."

      Denying people their civil rights is on the right side, no.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • derp

      of knuckle dragging neanderthal backwater hillbilly mentality.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Jan

      His God is apparently not my God. But since when we enter Christian Sharia law in this country?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  20. God

    I think gay marriage is just fine.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
Advertisement
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.