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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. frogofdeath

    Does this amendment also prevent people from getting divorced? Or better yet, people remarrying who already got divorced? Maybe that should be the first step in "saving" marriage.

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

      That's an aweful lot to ask. Many of the posters here probably can't figure out the corelation here.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  2. Bambam

    You "christian" nut-bags are no better than the fundamentalist Muslims. You live in a warped and morbid world. Enjoy h*ell.

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

      Be nice to Christians. THey still think the world is 6000 years old. What do you aspect. Unless they're cherry picking that Book again.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  3. dorothy

    Is this the same Billy Graham who suggested to his friend Richard Nixon that he should stifle the Jews?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  4. NeutralityAct

    CNN loves pulling pins on grenades and then walking away to watch the carnage. Politicizing personal religious beliefs is a sure way to bring out the hatred in people, whether it's CNN or the pulpit preacher.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  5. It comes down to this...

    "frank" – chill

    May 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  6. Bill

    is he going to let Jews get married?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  7. Mateo

    Allah is Great! If ignorant Americans want to write their laws according to religious leaders, go live in Iran. It's a theocracy. Just be careful what you ask for.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  8. RiadaKram

    Would that the good reverend had spoken out for the last 40 years concerning the evil of child-murder (abortion).

    May 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  9. EJ

    Would he just die already....

    May 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  10. *frank*

    Fuck Billy Graham and fuck the imbecilic, lie-riddled, hate-spawning, life-fearing desert voodoo cult that is Christianity.

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

      Nicely said. And throw other hate spewing religions with it.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • LoveEveryone

      Not all Christians are haters. If you love Jesus, you love everyone, period, end of conversation.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  11. It comes down to this...

    Hey BamBam try giving us an example of when this man was hypocritical. Nope, ya can't.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  12. RiadaKram

    Technically, qu ee rs aren't human beings so I don't understand how they can even possess rights.

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

      "Technically, qu ee rs aren't human beings so I don't understand how they can even possess rights"

      It's uneducated opinions like this that fuels the hate towards this minority group in this country.

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

      Technically your a horrible tw@t.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  13. skydeath

    Bugs Bunny was right, what a marone!

    May 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  14. Susan Tetewsky

    Old White Man with ancient outdated opinions. I hope he meets his maker and She is Black (or gay!). He's also anti semetic too.

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

      His views are not outdated, its the right thing

      May 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  15. Jubril

    Wish Graham lived in MD to save us from this Governor that wants to force this down our throat. Solution to this is to vote out any thing democratic party. Vote them out and vote republican to uphold our morals

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

      Your "morals" need updated to something other than the 1st Century. You should have absolutely NO say in who can or can't get married to each other.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Jon

      Yeah and bring back witch burning!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Ben Jordan

      Unequal pay for women, a gun in every hand, shoot first ask questions later, gut education, tax cuts for the rich, tax hikes for the middle class and poor – BEHOLD the moral high ground of the GOP

      May 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  16. It comes down to this...

    Figures CNN would post a close up of this 93 year old saint and try to portray him as anything but the charming, admirable man he is. Perhaps they should do that with president obama.

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

      I think he looks just fine. That's what people are supposed to look like. The media has brainwashed us into believing that human beings have no pores.

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

      I'll bet you wouldn't consider him a "sweet old man" if he didn't share your same bigoted views.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  17. Tim

    Evangelists are more like rappers and other gang rats than Jesus Christ, Be humble, and give me all your money

    May 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  18. Bambam

    Good Lord, who cares what that old geezer thinks! He's one step from the grave...and good riddance. I'm sick of these hypocritical evangelists!

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

      Explain the hypocrisy Bambam logic impaired. To be a hypocrite would require him to be married to a man. He is not. Your cognitive functions are severely disabled.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  19. Mark

    The arrogant swine of various Abrahamic religions still refuse to understand that the world does not belong to them, but to all humanity and to the diverse expression of human relationships. Keep your beliefs in your own life, but stop trying to force this bronze age collection of tribal folklore on the rest of us.

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

      There's a slow train coming . . .

      May 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • RiadaKram

      What, you can force it on us by changing laws but we can't? What a hypo.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  20. Founders1791

    CNN GAY

    May 3, 2012 at 5:47 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.