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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. ,y2cntsworh

    So how much longer before he finds out that there is no heaven or hell, and comes tot the realization that he lived a lie perpetuated over 2,000 years ago by sheep herders?

    May 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Thomas

      Three weeks, two days and eight hours.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Craig

      He is one of the main reasons gay Americans have had to fight for inalienable rights.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Tanya

      Gay Americans do not overburden Child Protective Services.

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

      Where does he and his children stand on dead beat dads and incarcerated parents? Focus on the Family rarely focuses on themselves.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Ted

      He is a dying breed that never understood the human worth of gay Americans.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Max

      Conservatives would gladly take away from others the things that give meaning to their own lives. It is a cynical strategy that I will never understand.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Scott

      I went to North Carolina for Christmas once to visit relatives. After prayer, everyone opened their new guns. Even the smallest children got guns. It was all a culture shock to me. I was never so happy to have my feet back in Seattle. It was the worst Christmas. The food however was delicious.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Patrick wins the day! I feel sad for Rev. Graham.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Damian

      He's a thug in a bully pulpit.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  3. JerseyGeorge

    Billy Graham just became the latest leader of the American Taliban. This November, vote democratic at the local, state, and federal level if you want to save our country from theocratic rule. Don't let the hateful and intolerant evangelicals get their way.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Max

      All he is missing is a shamans headdress, some beads and the ability to dance around a campfire.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  4. JT

    North Carolinians, please vote against this amendment. Gay marriage is already illegal in this state. Please note what pastorsagainstamendmentone.org have said: Amendment One is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As Christians, we have a responsibility to speak out and stop this Amendment before it can cause irreparable harm to the least of these—children, battered women, and widows–in North Carolina.
    Amendment One claims to protect marriage and family, but the rush to get it on the ballot resulted in sloppy language that will have devastating consequences. Rather than protecting families, the poor wording of Amendment One will cut kids off from their parents’ health care, put widows at risk of losing survivor benefits and battered women at risk of losing legal protections and access to shelters.
    Regardless of one’s position on marriage, we cannot allow children, battered women, and widows to pay the price for a sloppily written and rushed amendment. Any Amendment asking us to sacrifice the most vulnerable among us to supposedly protect religion and family doesn’t understand the point of either faith or family.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Nancy

      This will not only stop gay marriage, but will go even further to rewind advances that have taken 200 years to receive. Where does this mindset come from? Who are these people that would follow Mr. Graham? I don't know any people like this. I live in a completely different world.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  5. Robert

    Since the Bible's teaching on this matter is irrelevant, then its other teachings about not to lie, not to cheat, not to murder, not to be unfaithful, not to steal are also irrelevant? What kind of society do you want to live in???

    May 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "about not to lie, not to cheat, not to murder, not to be unfaithful, not to steal are also irrelevant? What kind of society do you want to live in???"

      Seeing as that is exactly what Christians did to obtain America we are already living in it. Still doesn't give you the right to block gays civil rights.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • StatingtheObvious

      morality doesn't need to have a basis in Judeo Christian values...nor are those values unique to Christianity, by the way. We accept certain laws as appropriate we because we value equality and the individual. Therefore, we attempt to protect ourselves by protecting each other. The Golden Rule has more to do with logic than God.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Thomas

      Myself, I would prefer to live in the society that Jesus wanted, not based on the laws of Leviticus.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  6. Patrick

    2 Kings 6:27 The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

    She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

    May 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • fred

      fred

      Proverbs 11:27 Whoever seeks good finds favor,
      but evil comes to one who searches for it.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  7. wanalawn

    Hes just another person who like to whip up a frenzy about an imaginary evil so he gets more moeny from people too stupid to actually read the book the purport to uphold.
    Shake the fear tree, watch the money fall out.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  8. Patrick

    Numbers 31: (Moses Speaking) 15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. 17 Now ki11 all the boys. And ki11 every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • fred

      Proverbs 11:27 Whoever seeks good finds favor,
      but evil comes to one who searches for it.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Dick

      Never happened.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  9. Patrick

    1 Corinthians 7:10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  10. Mitch Greene

    "First they came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me."

    -Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

    May 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  11. BT

    The picture you have for this article is totally appropriate: a very very old white male about to die. Yes, there are others, but that is the primary demographic of those opposed to gay marriage. I know, I know, they went through a lot to accept "coloreds" and "whites" getting married so its a bit of a push for them. It's ok – because their grandchildren think its a farce to suggest gays can't get married. Just give it time – the dinosaurs all die out eventually.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  12. Patrick

    Matthew 19: (Jesus Speaking) 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for s e xu a1 immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    May 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  13. Patrick

    1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

    34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  14. Patrick

    1 Timothy 2:11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  15. Patrick

    Genesis 19:8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

    May 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • fred

      fred

      Proverbs 11:27- Whoever seeks good finds favor,
      but evil comes to one who searches for it.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  16. urouttolunch

    "ug" sums you up pretty well. So I'm trying to figure out where "more perverts" would come from?

    May 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  17. YeahRight

    "He is right on this issue...we don't need more perverts in this country..."

    The experts around the world have proven they are not perverts only an uneducated bigot makes that kind of statement.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  18. Patrick

    Deuteronomy 22:28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and r@pes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

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

      Wrong translation of the Hebrew. If you do not know what you are talking about you should leave it alone.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Patrick

      You're the one who doesn't know what you're talking about. The Hebrew word is "to lay hold of" and it's the same word that's used in a verse that's immediately previous in the same chapter in the context of "he laid hold of her and there was no one to hear her screams and help her". Nice try, but God's Word never changes.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  19. steviek

    yeah fine. just do not complain later...

    May 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  20. ug

    He is right on this issue...we don't need more perverts in this country...

    May 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Patrick

      So let's hear how you "chose" your s ex u al 1 ty???

      May 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • StatingtheObvious

      Not that I agree with your assessment, but logically you should really be in favor banning marriages between men and women. Most gay people are born to straight parents, after all.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:27 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.