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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. markiejoe

    That's fine. The man is ancient. We all are just waiting for all the old bigots to die off and the younger generation will then carry on with open arms and open hearts to a better world for all.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Luch

      you are kiddingme right..what better world..you secualr liberals have been in charge since the late 1960's and what do you have to show for it..50 plus million murdered children in the act of abortion in the US ALONE, signinficant crime increases, family breakdowns, an economy in ruins, exploitation of children and the poor and a run away drug problem...yes you have certainly changed this world for the better?????

      May 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Luch, 70+% of all abortions are had by believers! If believers want to do stop abortion, they can substantially achieve that goal by adhering to their cult's rules. When believers stop having abortions, they might have the moral authority to try to impose their beliefs on others – until then, fuck off!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Luch

      To HotAirAce: wow where the CNN sensors...classy response...but so typical of Christian haters

      May 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  2. Primewonk

    I would appreciate it if North Carolina would secede from the union and form the country of Dumbfûckistan.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  3. frank t

    I sincerely believe that Graham will be able to beat Obama in this year's election. Graham has done an outstanding job at the republican debates and has shown that his policies are far superior to his oponents. When he gets elected I think he will finally be able to stop Obama from starting more wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • EagleEye2

      Graham will beat Obama. Okay lady, what universe are you from again?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • mdh4oo4

      I agree.. Obama even said that Graham is the only person who can beat him in an election.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • lam54

      I saw Billy's frst presidential add on tv the other night. This is gonna be an awesome race!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • lam54

      Graham won the republican primary in every southern state. Of course he's going to be president.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • emaly

      He said he might choose his son as a VP. I think Romney would be a good VP but who knows.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • NBAwizzz

      His adds are great but kind of cliche.. "Yes to Graham, No to Obama." Thats kinda plain.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • leoz895

      I think Obama will win.... Graham is getting too old like McCain.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • usroor

      Graham's military record is much stronger than McCains though

      May 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  4. Dinosaur Bill

    God (if there is one) created all kinds of people, Billy. Even old time bigots who spread hate like you.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • GT

      Define hate.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  5. Ken Margo

    He's an old worthless fogey. The same North Carolina that gave Newt "three wives" Gingrich a state during the primaries. Bigotry plain and simple. Fortunately his remaining time on earth is short.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Steve in WV

      I only read the article because I thought it referred to "Superstar" Billy Graham the wrestler

      May 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • GT

      Wow! Wishing for a man's death because you disagree with his views on morality. Who's spreading hate here?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  6. Jdub

    It's about time we stood up to the disgusting immorality of this Nation. God Bless Billy Graham

    May 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Catherine

      Immorality? You mean like hating your fellow human being and not allowing them happiness because you don't agree with them?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Madtown

      You're right, but what do we do about all these holier-then-thou christians?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Jdub

      There is no gray area. Its immorality plain and simple. You don't like it leave this country.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "ts immorality plain and simple."

      That's why even the pope said being gay is not a sin. LOL! That's why there are gay churches, gay clergy and pastors that have written apology letters to the gay community. You're clueless.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Madtown

      You don't like it leave this country.
      ---
      Oh, ok. That's an easy proposition, so it's excellent advice.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Brett

      Weren't you supposed to be raptured?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Huebert

      Spoken like a true fascist.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • JPhx

      Ok JDumb, this is our country. Why don't you pack your bag and leave? We aren't going anywhere and you are fighting on the losing end of this war.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  7. kenny

    bigotry under the guise of religious freedom... i think u guys tried that with slavery a while back.. how'd that turn out??? first your kids are gonna despise you for even mentioning your anti-gay bigotry and then the rest of society will look at you like we look at the kkk... you see many of them out and about these days???

    May 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • GT

      "... u guys tried that with slavery a while back." Huh? U guys? Are you implying the slavery was perpetuated by solely by Christians? Ever hear of William Wilberforce? What an ignorant comment.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Steve427

      Perhaps consider the reality that not everyone is a brainwashed PC liberal.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  8. odk1

    These is a very delicate subject to talk about, i consider myself liberal and these shouldn't be a political issue. i don't want anybody to tell me to go to a poll to make it ok for a man to marry another man, also i don't care if you a gay or not as long as you are not proposes to me.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Huebert

      Don't worry you're not cute enough for me to ask you out, much less propose.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  9. MikeMazzla

    Discusting man . he should be ashamed of himself. When a young person struggling with being gay commits suicide he bears the responsibility for that with him saying that his love for someone represents a moral decline.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Jdub

      shut up

      May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Huebert

      Hell of a rebuttal Jdub.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Steve427

      "Discusting" Whats that?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Luch

      where oh where did he insult any gays ...Rev Graham is merely saying that marriage is proper to a man and a woman and BTW marriage predates any religion...and for all you Christian haters out there...this same belief is held by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Seihks, Buddhists and a host of others

      May 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  10. Keven

    If i am not allowed to get married or have the same rights as other people in this country then I shouldnt have to pay taxes, i am not being representated as a citizen of this country by my government. Therefor I dont think that I should have to support this land with my money i work for. Why should I?

    May 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • odk1

      you have the right do what you want,but why do you need my vote.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  11. GT

    What is your definition of "hate"? If you are equating moral disapproval with hatred, then by definition, are you who morally disapprove of Rev. Graham's stance not equally guilty of hatred for morally disapproving with his position?

    May 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • kenny

      my religion says only young, pretty, athletic, white people should be allowed to marry and have kids... everyone else morally disgusts me and therefore shouldn't have the right to be married.... i don't care if they like each other, wanna spend their lives together and improve society as a whole... it is against MY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS so it should be outlawed.... anyone that opposes my religious beliefs is a BIGOT against my religion which is the one true religion above all others and defing it will result in eternal damnation for everyone everywhere who doesn't follow MY BELIEFS.... so sayeth the one true god.... aka the spaghetti monster from the dark side of the moon....

      May 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  12. andrew

    No matter how much Billy Graham or anybody else condems gay people getting married, the gay people owe Billy and them nothing. For example, Billy don't pay their bills, so he's simply trying to interfere in their lives – to stop them from doing something he doesn't do or like. They don't care what Billy likes; maybe they don't like things he likes either, but they don't try passing laws so he can't do it.
    Long, nosey-nosed busy body rubberneckers preaching, preaching, preaching; condeming all who disagree with their personal values. STOP picking and choosing bits of Bible verses for your own lousy arguments.
    People will never bow down to the ones who pretend to know what God declares upon them. They can do that themselves. Butt out and mind your own business, Bill Graham; you damn sure KNOW you should!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • odk1

      Billy Graham is a resident of north Carolina so he has a right express his opinion.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Jdub

      Ill pray for you. Otherwise Shut Up

      May 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Madtown

      Jdub
      Ill pray for you. Otherwise Shut Up
      -----
      Now, this is christianity!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jude 7 is a good warning.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  13. Courtney

    Wow, how dissappointing is Billy Graham? This is just horrible, I'm not surprised that he doesn't support marriage equality, but this is just mean spirited on every level. He should be ashamed of himself.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Jdub

      You should be ashamed of yourself for supporting immorality

      May 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Primewonk

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

      May 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "You should be ashamed of yourself for supporting immorality"

      The experts around the world disagree with you, being gay is a normal part of human sexuality.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Madtown

      Jdub
      You should be ashamed of yourself for supporting immorality
      ------
      This society should also not tolerate high-level idiocy. Jdub, I'm afraid you'll need to leave.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      YeahRight, your so-called experts are servants of satan and peddle his lies for all you fools to follow.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Madtown

      HeavenSent
      peddle his lies for all you fools to follow
      ----
      Are you gay? If so, at what point in your life did you make this decision? Are you straight? If so, at what point in your life did you make this decision?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  14. shutthehellup

    Bangay unions,marriages and while were at it,ban Billy too !!!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  15. Brian

    It came out in Nixon's tapes that Graham is anti-semitic. Wonder why he can't get a real job.

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

      liar

      May 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  16. Huebert

    There is a great saying "We make progress one death at a time."

    May 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  17. jtucker4

    Who cares if North Korea bans gay marriage and who is Billly Graham?

    May 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  18. HotAirAce

    They should ban Billy Graham and all his fellow cult followers. Believing in The Babble should be considered definitive proof of a mental illness and disqualify people from voting until they are well again. Of course, if cult members do not try to make laws based on their trash, they are free to believe whatever they like.

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

      HotAir, you obviously never read Revelation 20:10.

      10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

      Amen.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why would I read (again) your fairy tale known as The Babble. The only good Babble is one in the garbage. I am not a member of your cult. Your cult's rule book does not apply to me!!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  19. Gerry Daley

    This is the same fossil who never met a Republican president he couldn't endorse no matter what they did. He isn't some beloved old man. He's a hater in the deepest Southern Baptist tradition. I live in North Carolina...and will be glad when he is gone. And he can take his hater of a son with him.

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

    He is concerned about the moral decline?

    I wonder....

    What does he do about pedophilia in the church?

    What does he do about "family values" conservatives who have affairs on their spouses?

    Answer?

    ZERO

    Hypocrisy, plain and simple.

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

      Jackson, I'd read Romans 1:18-32 before you post more nonsense.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Luch

      yes lets judge a whole group of people by teh actions of a few...using your twisted logic..you can all gay people are bad those who are pedophiles are predominently gay men who abuse young boys..what hypocites

      May 3, 2012 at 4:47 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.