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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. Surthurfurd

    I guess all these Old Testament statement clippers are just upset that they can not have more than one wife or take slave concubines as promoted in the Old Testament.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Nevermind

      Whut do you mean? I can't?

      May 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • What is the Truth?

      that's why they call it the OLD Testament, cowboy ~ Christ nailed the Old Testament to the cross ~ know your history, the whole story, cowboy, before you speak. Christ is the reason we don't bring animals to slaughter like many did in the old testament. He is the reason we're liberated from the Old Testament laws. The NEW Testament is the whole celebration of Christ in that we are no longer under law, but under grace ~ know your truth, before you speak ~ know your story, before you tell it. Your self hate is so strong, that you can't help but radiate that same energy to others around you so you don't offend me because i already know you don't like who you are on the inside. Learn to love yourself, so that you can love others ~ learn to love Christ, so that you can share that love with others, cowboy ~ word out, peace

      May 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Then why are so many "Christians" pointing to the old Testament?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Patrick

      @Whatistruth – So are you saying this NEW TESTAMENT verse that refers to the OLD TESTAMENT scriptures is wrong?

      2 Timothy 3:15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • terri

      Christ did not nail the old Testament to the cross, the ceremonial laws were no longer needed once Jesus gave His life for our sins. The ceremonial laws are a small part of the old Testament.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Patrick

      @Terri – So are you saying this NEW TESTAMENT verse that refers to the OLD TESTAMENT scriptures is wrong?

      2 Timothy 3:15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • terri

      Patrick, I am not really sure what your point is but when the new Testament points to the old Testament, it verifies that the old Testament is still valid. The ceremonial laws, such as animal sacrifices, were no longer necessary for the forgiveness of sin once Jesus died on the cross.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  2. paul m

    In 20 years time will I be able to marry my dog? I really like him.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      can your dog sign a contract?

      May 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "In 20 years time will I be able to marry my dog?"

      This is such a lame and stupid argument because animals can consent. DUH!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • hh

      its totally the same thing. i'm guessing you already live in sin with your dog.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Edward

      I don't think your dog would want to marry an idiot.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Nevermind

      Yes, you will, but only if he isn't a weenie dog.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Patrick

      Please educa te yourself by reading ANY book t1t led "Human $e xua1it y" by ANY author. It will clearly describe the SEVEN major differences between p ara phi1ia s and s ex ua1 ori entations.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • terri

      The way things are going, yes.....

      May 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Patrick

      The way things are going???

      @terri – Yeah isn't the immorality horrible! Bl @cks can vote, women can vote, no more slavery, women can divorce abusive husbands, age of consent raised in every state instead of TEN YEARS OLD as it was in most states in 1900? How do you get up and face the day?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Jonquil

      hh - hahaha, I was going to address the ridiculous of thinking a dog can give consent, but your comment is far more profound.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      No, but perhaps you could marry a red herring.

      May 4, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  3. michelle - san francisco

    he is 93 for God's sake – he is still stuck in the 19th century.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • terri

      And you would have us return to an earlier point in time, as things were in Sodom and Gomorrah? Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Thank God there are those still willing to fight the battle for morality in our world.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Morality? What is morality? When women were property of their fathers or their wives?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Nevermind

      Yes, Terri, thank God for those of you who know exactly what the rest of us should do.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • terri

      Those aren't my words, but God's....Try picking up your Bible and reading it.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Patrick

      @terri – Yeah make sure you don't post the whole Sodom and Gomorrah story, like the part where Lot, the only righteous man to be found, the only one worth saving, was actually such a degenerate that he offers both his young virgin daughters to be r@ped by a r@pe gang of men. If that happened today, he'd be locked up, registered as a $ex offender, they'd be removed from his home for life...which probably would have been a good idea SEEING AS HOW HE GOT BOTH HIS YOUNG DAUGHTERS PREGNANT.

      THAT'S THE RIGHTEOUS MAN WORTH SAVING?

      YOU PEOPLE ARE SO FAACKING SICK. YOU USE THIS BOOK AS A MORAL GUIDE??? HOW FRIGHTENING.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  4. usastillgr8t

    The book of Jude Chapter 1: 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      You never go to a store on Sunday?

      May 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Patrick

      Matthew 19: (Jesus Speaking) 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for s ex ua1 immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

      May 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Ezekiel 16:49 Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy..

      By the way your scripture still has nothing to do with gays as we know it today fornication can be applied to everyone. Only a prejudice mind reads into the way you are. DUH!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • YeahRight

      By the way usastillgr8t this fits you perfectly "arrogant, overfed and unconcerned;" LMAO!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Nevermind

      @Suthurfurd – only when he needs some everlasting fire for the charcoal grill. "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. The rest of y'all can eat the necks and the backs."

      May 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • terri

      Ironically, according to the Bible, one of the signs that the end of the world is near is when people call good evil and evil good. Seems like there are many of those (who fit into that category) responding to this post.....

      May 3, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Patrick

      @terri – Yeah isn't the immorality horrible! Bl @cks can vote, women can vote, no more slavery, women can divorce abusive husbands, age of consent raised in every state instead of TEN YEARS OLD as it was in most states in 1900? How do you get up and face the day?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • terri

      Patrick, you really ought to try reading the Bible before you criticize it.......

      May 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Patrick

      @terri – I've read the bible. I can see clearly what it says. You're the one who makes no response when someone points out the many immoralities in the bible, no response at all, because you're lost and you don't even really believe what you believe. That's what cultists do, when they discover a contradiction or an inherent immorality they don't address it because the only choice they really have is to pretend it isn't there.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Jonquil

      Well, there you go. Marriage rights for everyone, as a barrier against "fornication".

      May 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  5. Surthurfurd

    There certainly are a lot of Conservatives who believe the first amendment gives them the right to limit the religious and speech rights of others.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  6. angel

    when we get to Heaven we'll be free of all this

    May 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • David

      Except you're not going there

      May 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • angel

      @ David

      I certain am...are you?

      May 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  7. Surthurfurd

    I wonder where these evangelicals are on violations of the 10 commandments: doing any business on the Sabbath, bearing false witness.

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

      Now wait a minute. Y'all want me to close down my two Mini-Mart and my Sudsy Car Warsh on Sunday? Now you done quit preachin' and gone to meddlin'!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  8. Corey

    Religious "marriage" can be whatever a particular religion wants to call it or ban it within that religion, but there is no way any religion should be able to ban or deny "civil marriage" when so many legal rights attached to two people who are in a defined relationship. This country must stop allowing religious zealots to imposed their thinking, will and ways on the rest of us. They are the biggest threat to freedom in this Country.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  9. usastillgr8t

    The Bible says that everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah were gay. Those cities were destroyed for their wickedness.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The Bible says that everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah were gay"

      LMAO that is not what it said in Ezekiel that clearly states that their sin was bad hospitality, you don't even know your own bible.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Ralph The Wonder Llama

      It's a bullshit story, dumb-dumb. Want me to tell you about the Emerald City? It's in an old book too, so it must be true. Witches! Flying Monkeys! Singing midgets! Must be true!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Patrick

      Yeah make sure you don't post the whole Sodom and Gomorrah story, like the part where Lot, the only righteous man to be found, the only one worth saving, was actually such a degenerate that he offers both his young virgin daughters to be r@ped by a r@pe gang of men. If that happened today, he'd be locked up, registered as a $ex offender, they'd be removed from his home for life...which probably would have been a good idea SEEING AS HOW HE GOT BOTH HIS YOUNG DAUGHTERS PREGNANT.

      THAT'S THE RIGHTEOUS MAN WORTH SAVING?

      YOU PEOPLE ARE SO FAACKING SICK. YOU USE THIS BOOK AS A MORAL GUIDE??? HOW FRIGHTENING.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • terri

      Also, in the Bible, in Revelation, it says that those who add to or take away from the words in the Bible will lose their part in heaven. When people misinterpret Scripture (in order to justify immorality) they are trading any chance of going to heaven for a few years on earth of doing exactly as they please.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  10. Satan

    Maybe Billy Graham should've dropped dead ten years ago, so he wouldn't be alive to witness his holy book of fairy tales under attack.

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

      Well fortunately, God wouldn't allow it....

      May 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  11. SS Chicago

    Both Billy and Frank are from 19th century. Let them live in peace (in another land).

    – But they are demagogues . Amen

    May 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  12. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Reason changes things.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things. Proof posted on these blogs

      May 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • John Stuart Mill

      Atheism is the only truly healthy state of mind. Religion of all stripes is nothing more than the imaginary answer to all of your questions. Reality is hard, and it takes a clear mind to deal with it.

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

      "Prayer changes things"

      -Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • terri

      Those who worship the idol of "reason" end up going mad in the end.....Perhaps it is the manifestation of the story in the Bible of the servants with talents. Those who don't use their talents end up losing them.....

      May 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Jonquil

      Terri, you're a sucker. Those of us who have "eaten from the tree of knowledge" know why religious leaders want to keep their obedient followers in a willful state of dependency.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  13. John Stuart Mill

    You do not stand for human rights when you propose to abridge or limit the rights of some people. Being offended by something is not a reason to outlaw it. It is an exercise in religious bigotry and narrow mindedness that has as its root your desire to have everything be to your liking.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • terri

      Immorality is not good for society. What is not good for society should be limited.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Nevermind

      Terri, you are little more than a fascist in a choir robe.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  14. loucioccio

    While they are at North Carolina should ALSO ban Divorce. Matthew 22:29, Mark 10:7-9

    May 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  15. SashineB

    You have to love these evangelicals ... "The Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.' They make such a big deal of that; yet, do they care about adultery and divorce within their own ranks? Do a search on the internet for "baptist divorce rate", and you will find information about evangelicals having an extremely high rate of divorce. So, sure - defend marriage; all the more business for divorce lawyers!! But, no preaching against that!

    May 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Bill

      Actually there's a lot of preaching against divorce and adultery.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • terri

      You obviously never attend church.

      What I would like to see is a survey that tallies how many people with negative things to say about religion and Christians actually know what they are talking about. This would be evidenced by passing an exam on the Bible and religion.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Nevermind

      Here's something you won't like, Terri. It's a link to an article from, of all places, the Christian Science Monitor, about research that shows that atheists and agnostics are better versed in the Bible than Christians.

      http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/0928/In-US-atheists-know-religion-better-than-believers.-Is-that-bad

      May 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  16. kelvin

    Who are we to judge other people its like putting"god"aside and doing the judging for him you could let people know how
    wrong it is because of your be leave. Its like putting fresh wine in an old wine sack what happen to that wine I also be leave if people judge other people that same person you are judging might end up in heaven because you did not let "god"
    do the judging.

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

      Perhaps you should allow a child to step out in front of a speeding car and let God judge whether that child should have done that.....We already have information on what happens to societies with blatant gay behavior. There is no need for a re-enactment.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  17. Raven0303

    Its ok in 10 years there will be a federal law allowing gay marriage so these states that are trying to ban it now will eventually have to allow all their citizens equal rights.. I am a 29 yr old white male that is straight and I fully support marriage equality and only see old people opposing

    May 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!

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

      Keep praying and praying and praying for me, I'll keep *thinking* for you.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  19. Preston

    Just a question to those who oppose gay marriage, what do you think will happen if it's made legal?

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

      Colon dangit!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • CW

      It'll make the gays happy! We need them miserable so they can't spread their gay propoganda and turn our nation into a gay dictatorship.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  20. J wallace

    Graham's newspaper ad will say: "The Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman

    The Bible also has a little snipit in there about

    "JUDGE NOT LEST. "YOU " BE JUDGED". !!!!!!!!!

    May 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • polycarp pio

      So if we follow your logic no one should speak out against any sin or evil. We would not want to unfairly judge the poor slave owners by telling them there sin is wrong, and God forbid we judge the poor Nazis by telling them it was wrong to kill 6 million jews, God forbid. You so called bible experts take one verse and run with it instead of taking the whole counsel of God. Put your hand across your mouth and repent and say Lord I have acted the fool and will now be quiet. PP

      May 3, 2012 at 6:39 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.