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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. lroy

    While I'm not of the same faith as Billy Graham, I wishI COULD vote for the ban. We lost the vote in Massachusetts, so good luck NC and God bless!

    May 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • upstatenyman

      You must live in MA. It's hard to believe, those darned gay people make a loving commitment and all goes to hell and you're still around to post?

      May 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  2. WillyG

    Billy Graham hasn't been relevant since Nixon was in office and I think we all recall how that worked out. It seems those who claim to be moral authorities, generally have none.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  3. Rich

    think of all the cash the NC fools have given this huckster rev billy so gram(gods other son)

    May 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  4. bigfoot

    There is moral decline, Mr. Graham. And YOU are IT.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  5. 1969er

    Now here's a man who is full of hate. You can see it in his face. I've always wondered how he can even call himself a Christian.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Brandon

      He is not evil and Christians are not hating when supporting this. God stated marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman. Any other why is sin. Even though people do go against this way God wants them to, He does not hate them. He will punish them but not hate them. It is just like a child that does something a parent does not agree with. The parent will punish them but not hate them.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  6. Rich

    like most closet gays billy boy needs to come out....we don't care

    May 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  7. Robert Hershey

    Love when the most outspoken religious people end of being gay themselves!! IF there is a God, wouldn't he/she advocate love to all people?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  8. Judy

    I am voting against this marriage ban. There is nothing that Bill Graham can say or do to change my mind. I believe that gays have just as much right to be miserable as heteros. And yes, I live in NC

    May 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  9. Cindy

    I believe Franklin is in charge now. Not sure Billy knows what is going on. How do they place scripture over a Commandment?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  10. Bill

    It always amazes me that these uber-christian, evangelical types are so incredible exclusionary and rigid in their capriciously arbitrary definitions when the Bible's new testament, which they claim as their faith basis, is just the opposite...featuring grace, peace, forgivness and understanding, tolerance and the like.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  11. Tom Leykis

    Nobody cares what religious blowhards say. The whole "god" and "jesus" this, a myth.

    The Earth is approx. 4.5 BILLION years old.
    Dinosaurs existed, just not with man.
    Evolution is a Scientific FACT.

    Get over it.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • CuriousAboutStuff

      I support the fact you have the right to free will/choice – please look at all sides before you make that choice so you can make an informed decision when you feel – http://creation.com – God bless your journey of knowledge ...

      May 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  12. Bob

    "The Rev. Billy Graham, the world's best-known evangelist" – who writes this kind of crap.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  13. Rich

    He is a sad old foooool

    May 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  14. Jesus Is Gay

    There's no record of jesus having a wife, girlfriend or that he had relations with a female so it must be presumed that he was, biblically speaking, into guys.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • BK

      No, you fool.... Just because someone never had any relationships does not automatically make them gay....

      May 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  15. Tom Leykis

    Another cretin on team jesus. Lol

    May 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  16. Oh Come On

    Apparently, a lot of people thought he was dead. Is this wishful thinking?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  17. Lenny Pincus

    Billy Graham claims insight into God's thoughts, which alone is pretty funny. However, is he unaware that the Bible clearly prohibits mixed marriages? He actually is a heathen when it comes to that tricky point. In that light, his braying that he never thought he'd be discussing the nature of marriage–especially when miscegenation was illegal in his part of the world for quite a while–is beyond irony. But that is the winger way.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  18. yahmez

    Why is it that religious types are the people to cry the loudest when other humans fight for civil rights?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Atheist

      Exactly.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Mike in Green Bay

      I couldn't agree more!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Digital Mike

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

      May 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Oh Come On

      Excellent point

      May 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Religious type

      CAUSE IF YOU NEEDED ANY MORE RIGHTS WE WOULD GIVE 'EM TO YA'!!!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Elisa Jordana

      They havent "contributed" enough to Mr Graham.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  19. jo

    "vote for marriage"? Really!? How about these people first clean up marriage. You know, get rid of the marriages that were done for status only, or stay together because of status or sleep around (and then go home to each other so the kids/spouse don't get hurt). Or the (bi)couples who go out together looking to pick up people at the bars.

    Well then... As long as you present yourself as straight and married you can do whatever you please under the sham umbrella of marriage according to the conservative religous folk.

    For those conservative folk that don't think for themselves I will now summarize, "Fix it (marriage) or forget (fighting to save it)."

    May 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  20. LinCA

    Not all conservatives are douche bags.

    While I don't often agree with conservatives, but found the opinion piece by Theodore B. Olson "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage" to be a very good read. I think it makes a good case for why same sex marriage is the right thing, even for conservatives.

    You can find a copy here:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/01/08/the-conservative-case-for-gay-marriage.html

    May 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • MarcParella

      As a conservative I agree with you. The right to form interpersonal relationships among adults is a fundamental inalienable right that no government or people can or should restrict. A much greater threat to our society is from the religious zealots who think they can live our lives better than we can. It is a far greater threat to my personal liberty if a government outlaws who I can interact with, providing that interaction harms no one. I just don't see how a Gay couple who weds is a threat to our society.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • urouttolunch

      Bravo!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:01 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.