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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."

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. reader10

    I don't go to church but he is rigth.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Patrick

      The bible says working on the Sabbath is an abomination and that people should be stoned to death for it. I'd be careful.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I don't go to church but he is rigth."

      Wow so blocking other peoples civil rights is ok with you, that is so unAmerican.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Bambam

      If you're going to say someone's right, at least spell it correctly.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Huebert

      I don't go to school, but I agree with you.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      @Patrick,
      Jesus and His Disciples were accused of working on the Sabbath and they survived it (at least for a while). I'd watch out for some of the Fundamentalists, however. They can be a little literal.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  2. ErnestoP

    I can see my second post but not the first, which took me 30 mins to write. Why?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      CNN moderators. Const.itution. They don't like some words like t i t

      May 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • YeahRight

      It has a word in it that is being blocked by the filters.

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".
      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.
      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".
      And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.
      “Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      ––
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      s-ex
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      an-al......ban-al
      sh-it
      fu-ck...
      who-re
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      pr-ick
      sl-ut
      c-lit
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      hor-ny
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      nip-ple
      po-rn
      c-ock
      nig-ger
      cu-nt
      b-itch
      ra-pe
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      Sna-tch
      soft-ware
      Ja-panese
      Span-king
      hoo-ters
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Mark

      @Yeah right

      You don't have enough to keep you busy...go mow the lawn.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      They want Freedom of the Press but won't give it to others. Kind of like the Puritans and differing opinions.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • sftommy

      I find the word "God" will often delay my postings. And yet so much garbage gets through....

      May 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  3. Ronnie Harper

    Won't he die already? He has no authority or intellectual credentials whatsoever. You might as well take advice from a block of cement.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Dan

      That's a terrible thing to say. It's one thing to agree with him, it's quite another to wish the death of a fellow human being.

      Obama didn't have the credentials to be in the WH, with only a community organizer role, yet, I bet you voted for him.... funny how that worked.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Permutation

      He does, however, have the same right as you–to voice his opinion.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • The Truth704

      Sounds like you're talking about yourself.....

      May 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Bambam

      Dan must be a teabagger. They try their best to bring Obama into every unrelated topic they can.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Maybe he hasn't died yet because he hasn't opened your mind yet? Nicest Protestant I know of. All of the thousands of screw ups that he straightened out are credential enough. Maybe you should listen to him on other subjects before making up your mind.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  4. Rebel4Christ

    We live in an America where people would rather come out of the closet than clean it!

    May 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Patrick

      The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all say ho mose xuality is a normal unchangeable variant of human $e xua lity. Get over it.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  5. meme

    I'm totally for this ammendment. GO BILLY!!

    May 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Rebel4Christ

      Me too!!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Amen !!!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I'm totally for this ammendment. GO BILLY!"

      It's people like you that are UN-AMERICAN, blocking other people civil rights is wrong.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      May 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • peanut butter

      I'm for it!!!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Bambam

      I'm totally for an amendment that would deny you access to oxygen.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Patrick

      So much for the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness OF OTHERS, right? What a great American.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      @Patrick,
      It is called "pursuit of happiness" precisely because it is not guaranteed that they will get it.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "It is called "pursuit of happiness" precisely because it is not guaranteed that they will get it."

      No it's called having equal civil rights.

      May 4, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  6. ErnestoP

    CNN where is my post? How can I review what I posted and see any responses people may have to it?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  7. Respondus

    Shame on you Billy Graham; even you are not above bigotry and hatred.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Respondus: you have demonstrated our problem. Can someone hold a different opinion from you without being labeled as h0m0ph0bic or bigoted?

      May 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Huebert

      Not if they try to write their opinion into law.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Russ

      @ huebert: that's the pot calling the kettle black.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Apparently neither are you.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  8. begreen3850

    Frankly. Marriage costs corporations more money than singles. Perhaps marriage should be banned under the Fourteenth Amendment as it creates a two-tiered system of citizenship with one group receiving more rights than others. I sure as hell do not appreciate being economically discriminated against just because I am not married.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Marriage costs corporations more than singles? How so? Married people pay more in taxes, e.g., the Marriage Tax as evidenced by the Federal Tax Tables. They do live longer but that is a medical fact not financial. Food packaging is designed for couples and/or families because there are more of them than singles. There's that pesky Majority Rules thing again. You can always end your self imposed "discrimination" by getting married.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  9. LAinSA

    Is this the guy that made money preaching the love and compassion of Jesus Christ? P.S. Jesus didn't have a concession stand or gift shop when he preached.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      (Tongue in cheek) What can I say, He's a Protestant. Not the first time they got something wrong 🙂

      May 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  10. Mateo

    This again? No wonder Americans stink at civic classes. Civil marriage, civi rights are matters of the state. Not matters of personal opinions or beliefs. People have different beliefs than yours. As an American citizen don't you think you should have the same legal rights as I do?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Pursuit of happiness is not a guarantee. If the People choose differently and you don't like it you can always move to California.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Pursuit of happiness is not a guarantee."

      But civil rights are which is what the gays are fighting for equality.

      These are the rights that gay couples don't have.

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  11. Patrick

    What do you expect from someone that old? He probably still thinks being left-handed is deviant.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Since most people are right handed it is a deviation from the norm. At least Lefties are in their right Mind :-).

      May 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  12. Chris

    Isn't it about time we send this irrelevant geazer to an Obama Death Panel?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  13. danielwalldammit

    It's a shame. Graham has rightly earned a reputation for being reasonable and kind. This move puts that reputation to a perverse use.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Russ

      @ daniel: sounds like what they said about Wilberforce...

      May 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  14. Founders1791

    CNN....YOU ARE SHOWING...TRUE COLORS.....SUPPRESSING 90% OF THE OPINIONS THAT DON'T FIT 'YOU' NARRATIVE

    May 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • YeahRight

      They have nothing to do with it Word Press has filters on for certain words.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Founders1791

      They have WordPress but can AND DO supplement it with flat out censorship. I have had 'numerous post removed'. The 'other posters' are using all the same words I use and yet ...here they are allowed...but mine are not.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • YeahRight

      We are using html to get around it.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  15. PEACE

    'Time will tell think you are in heveaI but you are living in hell' Its a pitty that your desires will surely lead to your doom.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Love

      It really didn't make any more sense the second time, but thanks for dropping by.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • steelers1981

      Your spelling leaves your message unclear.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • begreen3850

      Put down the reefer, man.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  16. PEACE

    'Time will tell think you are in heveaI but you are living in hell' Its a pitty the your desires will surely lead to your doom.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  17. Stephen

    Oh Billy, you are so close to the tomb and you're going to put this anchor around your neck? You were going to go out squeaky clean compared to Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, and so many others from the little side-show you call a profession. Now you're going have your name attached to this losing "traditional marriage" crap. You won't be remembered for counseling presidents or even being a relatively benign celebrity preacher, you'll be remembered as one particularly well-known wrinkly old guy amidst a sea of wrinkly old guys who got way too interested in how gay folks lived their lives. The history books are going to laugh at you Billy. That's your legacy. That's you're leaving behind as you walk the short road to the end.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • begreen3850

      Don't forget the anti -semitism remarks. He hates the Jews as much as the gays.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Rgeneration

      He doesn't need any human acknowledgement. He works for the King.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "He doesn't need any human acknowledgement. He works for the King."

      Still doesn't give him the right to spread is unfounded prejudice and bigotry towards this minority group. Duh!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  18. John

    Damnit CNN, I thought you meant the wrestler "Billy Graham", not the preacher.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • begreen3850

      There's a preacher named Billy Gramham too? Does he wear tie-die also? Dang.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  19. Debbie

    Voting for this amendment is a vote against civil rights for gay and straight couples who are not married. This includes denying benefits such as jointly filing taxes and claiming dependents, rights of survivorship such as retirement pension and the ability to visit as a family member in a hospital. Leave the religion debate out of the picture...this is about fair and equal treatment for couples and families. It's crazy that this has become such an emotional issue when nothing is being taken away from married people.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  20. umbrella

    I'm just really tired of LGBT wanted more equality than everyone else.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • RayJacksonMS

      And do tell what greater rights to they want?

      May 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Gotta Love Christian "Logic"

      More? Oh I just have to ask . . . what "more equality" have they asked for?

      May 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Debbie

      Not MORE equality, just equality!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Founders1791

      Bingo!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I'm just really tired of LGBT wanted more equality than everyone else"

      More equality? They don't have equality in their partnerships because they are missing the fundamental rights straights have.

      These are the rights gay couples don't have:

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      Then perhaps you should get your brain out of that parallel universe and deal with real life issues for a change.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • umbrella

      @ YeahRight

      I guess in Canada, they already have all those rights.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Debbie

      Well said, YeahRight!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • fred

      YeahRight
      I think we need to trash special rights for married people period and start from scratch. Marriage rights have their foundation in tradition that goes back thousands of years all of which are based on religion. Begin your godless society without any of the benefits attributed to Gods blessings.
      Now tell me YeahRight in your godless world, run by you, why does a society need marriage laws?

      May 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Founders1791

      Yeah Right,

      See "Civil Unions" in Democrat Joe Biden's "Delaware" for an answer to everyone of your complaints.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • The Truth704

      @umbrella,......OH WELL!!!!

      May 3, 2012 at 5:48 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.