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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. Frank Maston

    Graham was once a force, but that was in different times. The "big issues" for real Christians today have nothing to do with marriage, abortion, or praying in schools – they don't concern most of the younger generation or this oldster. But, will Graham speak out on us changing the climate for the worse, on militarism, on racism (epidemic in NC), on the ugly ethics of some big businesses, and of the need for the underclasses to get serious about education and social morality? No. He's no prophet – he's an anachronism.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  2. johnfrichardson

    This guy's a total bozo and his son is worse.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  3. J100409

    I hope his support is for the true Biblical definition of marriage. A union between one man and one woman which does not preclude the man from entering as many additional such arrangements as he can afford....

    May 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  4. CRH

    I consider myself a good Christian but I wish he had not done this. If the Bible takes a stance on it, that means it is a personal matter of faith and morality. And the government has no business legislating faith and morality.

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

      It IS the government's business to set rules for interactions between people. It is not the government's business to control how you feel about gays, but it is its business to control what you do about that.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Connie Steele

      Well put!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • CRH

      Jim, The government would have no basis to prevent civil unions or gay marriage if it wasn't for the religious issue. If you take that away, why can't two committed people join together? If God has an issue with it, they can try to explain that at the appropriate time. But that is their choice. It sounds like simple discrimination under the guise of moral concerns.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  5. Paul

    Surprise! Surprise! The minister of hate comes out in support of an amendment that does just that! My only question is how is this old windbag still breathing?

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

    Go away old man your not relevant anymore,we no longer burn people at the stake or rip them apart using horses.wish we could ban old ,fascist,theocrats .

    May 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  7. HURLCO

    Good for Billy. At least he has the courage of his convictions to take a stand based on his beliefs and faiths. That it flies in the face of the LBGT politically correct juggernaut is something they will have to deal with. Funny thing about so-called tolerant progressives–they are the most intolerant group of folks possible. If you agree with them on gay marriage, that's just fine. If you disagree with gay marriage, our society has now devolved to the point where one is labeled a bigot and a "hater". What an unusual shift. The truth is now defined as hate, when in reality, the opposite is true...especially at CNN.

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

      The truth is now defined as hate
      ---
      Sure, but you say that only because it's your "truth".

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

      I disagree with Christian marriages. They shouldn't be legal. Hope I'm not a bigot for saying so.

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

      The problem is that its not truth! Its about as truthful as a man putting every living creature in pairs on a boat while the Earth was flooded.... and then lo and behold, the Earth was repopulated. Just plain ignorance. And HURLCO I will always call a bigot and a hater exactly as they are.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Frank Maston

      I suppose you are another one of those "freedom-loving" republicans who wants to define (and restrict) everyone else's freedom. You can believe and practice whatever you want, but you cross the line when you want to legislate the personal lives of others. Doesn't the Bible say something about leaving the judging up to God? Or have you been given a special dispensation that nobody else knows about?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      HURLCO: It is about equal rights. Those who oppose them are bigots, no matter how much they wrap themselves in the bible

      May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      "At least he has the courage of his convictions to take a stand based on his beliefs and faiths"

      So did David Duke

      May 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "That it flies in the face of the LBGT politically correct juggernaut is something they will have to deal with. Funny thing about so-called tolerant progressives–they are the most intolerant group of folks possible. If you agree with them on gay marriage, that's just fine. If you disagree with gay marriage, our society has now devolved to the point where one is labeled a bigot and a "hater""

      Now substitute African American in for LBGT and see if you still agree with your statement. Oh...that's right your group has always dragged it's feet on equal civil rights.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  8. jordan

    I will never bow down to the Jesus God.And I mean never.No one is going to force their Religion on me.Go to Church and leave the rest of us alone.You do not have the right to intrude on my life.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  9. Wayne

    What a shame. And here I thought he knew that Mankind was created in God's image...straight, gay whatever. Well, you have to tell your followers what they want to hear otherwise the money won't trickle in.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  10. connie

    People, please try to understand that Rev Billy Graham is not 'stating his opinion' regarding gay marriages..he's only stating what the Bible is saying about the matter. If you choose not to follow what the Bible says, then...well..... I truely feel sorry for you. God didn't create Adam and Evan in the garden...it was Adam and Eve !!

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

      @connie

      Do you actually believe that genesis is a factual account of events at the beginning of the universe?

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

      connie

      Please try to understand that just because you have "faith" in a particular fairy tale doesn't mean other people don't believe differently.. Why do you want to restrict what other people do with their bodies?? We don't want heteros to not marry, we just want the same rights for all adults–not just rights for adults who happen to think the way you do.

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

      I feel sorry for people who take the bible literally and know nothing about how it was compiled and by whom nor the historical context of why certain 'stories' where put into and others left out even though they were written in the same time period.

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

      god didn't create anyone in any garden. that's silly.

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

      "People, please try to understand that Rev Billy Graham is not 'stating his opinion' regarding gay marriages..he's only stating what the Bible"

      He is using the bible as a reason to block other peoples civil rights, that is what the vote is about. The experts around the world have shown that what was written about gays and lesbians in the past were done by bias and prejudice people, that includes your bible! . It's why the word homosexual was added later.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Robert Muniz

      Those stating that the Rev Graham is just stating what the Bible says on marriage need to be reminded that the Bible also contains statements supporting human slavery, the subservience of wives to their husbands, and some regulations concerning eating shellfish. Will the illustrious Rev make statements in support of those views as well?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      My name is not adam, or eve. In fact, I know very few people with either of those names. Perhaps we should pass a law to ensure that everyone is named either adam, or eve.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • John K

      Please try and understand that your bible is a fairy tale and this silly old man believes in them. Who cares what silly things he wants to believe in as long as he doesn't try to impose that on thinking humans.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • bill davis

      can you say "simpleton?"

      May 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Paul

      Another poor soul with a fig leaf for a brain. Adam, Evan, Paul, and Sam were all running around in that garden Connie....AND they were LOVING it!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Jim

      Don't feel sorry for me! I'm not the one whose life is hobbled by believing fairy tales penned by 2000-years-dead desert lunatics.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      why do you feel sorry for those who do not accept the bible?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • mabear87

      What part of the new testament talks about gays or the union of marriage? And did not Jesus accept everyone. Why cannot Graham and all these evangelical zealots practice their own religion? Talk about candidates for HELl. Graham and thes people lead the list.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      True Christians know that satan seeks to nullify the Bible, and to make folks doubt it's authenticity and authority? From the first book (Genesis) telling satan’s fate through the last chapter (Revelation) which narrates satan’s final end.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  11. Scott

    So much for a person who believes in God to give us the freedom of choice. It's up to God to make decisions and punish those he deems have sinned against him. Not man to make those decisions for him.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  12. bayliee

    Like father, like son! I guess he decided he needed media attention like his son, Franklin had, not very long ago!! Life is a mystery!! In reality, how do we really know who is going to be in heaven when we walk through those Peary Gates!! Perhaps a "gay activist" might be there!! If so, will you turn around and walk away?? In my opinion it is far past time that "God" deal with the gay community. And I don't mean all of the "little God"s, like the Pope and Billy Graham either!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  13. in-der-pendant

    Religious zealots always try to impose their beliefs on others..... that's all they have going for them. If people were logical, they could not accept the stories of the bible or most other religious so called holy books.

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

      secular humanist zealots impose their beliefs on everyone else

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

      @luch

      What beliefs are being imposed upon you?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • John K

      Hey Luch without secular laws protecting religious freedoms you'd be forced to follow the beliefs of whoever is in charge of the government. I'd think twice before I condemned the secular world. Far from opposing your right to belive as you wish they fight to protect it. What they and I want is the same consideration. If not they it is you who is forcing things on others.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      Aren't those secular humanists terrible for imposing their beliefs on themselves? They should fall to their knees and pray like civilized people. They should raise up their voices in praise, and hopefully they will be heard by him most holy, who will touch them, with his noodly appendage.

      Wait. You aren't thinking about that other god, who commands us to love our brother, but not like that, are you? He's a little odd.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  14. JT

    For the first time, I am sorry that the revered Billy Graham is a North Carolinian because he will now undoubtedly have an impact on this vote. Then again, you never know. Maybe enough citizens will not follow his lead in the way some did years ago when he endorsed Richard Nixen.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  15. Tom Smith

    Why would any person want to live in North Carolina? Well it appears to be a good place for bigots and some really really stupid people. I would hope that the large companies that the state of North Carolina is trying to bring to their state would think twice about doing so...many of them have anti discrimination language in their company policies...why would they move their companies there? The real problem is their is no cure for stupid...a lot of stupid going on in America right now...hope disappointing...I had actually thought things were getting better, but it appears not.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  16. GianCarlo

    This OLD racist has been should just die and leave this world while he is ahead. He is the reason people no longer see religion as a truth and holy way of living. These false prophets (including his son Franklin) have made a mockery of those that follow Jesus Christ. Billy's involvement in politics shows that he is not a true Christian. They spew hate, I would not be surprised if he used the Bible to justify slavery also. When people start using the Bible to justify hate, they become UN-credible beings.

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

      more tolerant words from the very tolerant and liberal minded left wing liberal secularists...all hail the culture of relativism

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

      He just telling the truth...my guess is that you can't handle the truth. He has courage to stand up for what he belives which is THE Truth. We will ALL Face our Maker soon enough. We love you too but Jesus loves you more.

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

      Last day people will say what's bad is good and waht's good is bed. Sun rise's from east to west that hasn't changed it not matter of opion it's matter of truth. People opions will change as the time goes by but the Truth will never change. God is same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Your opion is not base on the truth but base on your opions. God bless you.. with His truth.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  17. Jim Hahn

    What a relic. This world is no longer in the 1950s. The definition of marriage has not changed. It is still two people who love each other.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  18. John K

    “Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern," How right you are Billy. When people think they have the moral right to vote on other peoples marriages I'd say morality has hit a record low. Bigotry is the cause of said moral declined and it can be cured.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  19. Digital Mike

    "And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter." Thomas Jefferson

    "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature." Thomas Jefferson

    "In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to Liberty." Thomas Jefferson

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

      you are full of it..Thomas Jefferson nevr said any such things...nice try

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

      @luch

      And I assume that you are a Jeffersonian Scholar.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • the truth

      a quick google search proves that he did...

      In a letter to H. Spafford, 1814: "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."

      May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  20. Greg

    Every generation in history has thought the world was in moral decline. We haven't hit bottom yet.

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

      There's always a mythical "golden age" of peace and harmony that was about 50-100 years prior to the current generation.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:35 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.