home
RSS
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. tuffboy

    "Moral decline" emanates from the church as well. Perhaps people should clean their own houses before judging the state of someone else's house. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness.

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

      That's maybe not a desirable thing to aim for, godliness, cuz there ain't no god.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  2. Tim_in_Dayton

    Every time gay marriage has come up in the ballot, it is always rejected by the majority of the people in that state. Majority of people agree with Mr Graham. The gay marriage scourge has to be stopped and it has to be stopped now before it is too late.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • fred

      The trend ain't in your favor though, since the pro numbers are on the increase. And go look up 'ad populum error'.

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

      Are you still upset Blacks and women have the right to vote?

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

      good one, surthurfurd

      May 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tim_in_Dayton

      Ok, I propose a national referendum on gay marriage. You guys state that the majority supports gay marriage so you people will agree to it right?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Gay Billy

      Let the old senile crazies rule your country like always. How is the US any different then Iran! Freedom from religion my ass.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Stephen

      Too late for what? Will gay marriage somehow lead to the end of days? Human history has plodded along for several thousand years without imploding under the weight of the 10% or so of its population that prefers partners of the same gender. Entire societies have existed and continue to exist that have turned a blind eye to this "scourge" of yours without sinking into the sea or bursting into flames. And I'm talking about real societies like China and Greece, not made up ones like the city that was destroyed by gods wrath so no one can ever find it.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Tim_in_Dayton

      In Iran gays are executed. In this country you are free to live your life as you see fit. You are free to choose the gay lifestyle but don't expect society to legitimize your deviant behavior

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

      One does not "choose" to be gay. Do you not understand why we are able to say that gays make up 10% of the population? Its and observable biological phenomenon. 10% of dolphins are gay, 10% of dogs are gay, 10% of humans are gay. Do you think that if it was a choice someone would choose it? By your own admission it is a death sentence in Iran. In this country gays can look forward to a life of ridicule and venom from people like Graham. You need to accept that it is not a choice for how to enjoy physical pleasure, being gay is a form of love, and as such it should be celebrated, not forced into the shadows by close minded people like you and the "Reverend."

      May 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  3. what's a girl to do

    O, where have you been Billy boy, Billy boy
    Where have you been charmin' Billy
    O, I've been to seek a boy
    He's will be my lifetime joy
    A young thing who cannot leave his closet

    May 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  4. philip

    Rev Graham is right to speak out on any subject he wants.
    His moral understanding of the Bible is correct.
    Marriage is between a man and a woman.
    Thanks for standing up for what is right

    May 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Gay Billy

      What time in the middle ages did you wake up from?

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

      Do you also support having multiple wives and taking slave concubines?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Stephen

      His moral understanding? What in anything he has ever said about his interpretation of the bible has made you believe that it is moral or good? The man is contemptible for the lies he spreads and the glee with which he celebrates the possibility of the end of the world. I would not trust his moral understanding of how to boil water.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  5. Strand

    Hey Billy..I issue Bulletins every time one of these states changes their domestic partnership rules. I don't even think you know the red tape involved in the ealth Care industry every single time there is a change. You want to be conservative? Eliminate the red tape for me and let's make gay marriage legal on a federal level.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  6. Former Catholic

    Religion should not be what determins our public policy. Freedom and equity SHOULD be the American way. We are so behind so many countries who understand that their duty as a govenment is to represent and advance the lives of all peoples regardless of religious beliefs. (I know that we are way ahead of other countires as well so dont go there)

    May 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • sam8131

      You mean like Iran and Russia?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • sam8131

      Then let's make murder legal. How about lying. I should be able to lie just as much as slick willy to a court and get away with it. Why do the secret service agents lose their jobs for covorting with pretty women for money? What's wrong with that? Where is the equality and freedom?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  7. Stephen

    The time is coming when Republicans are going to have to choose between being the party of freedom OR the party of enforced "morality," they can't be both.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  8. Gay Billy

    Isn't this monster dead yet? Who cares what this senile creep has to say.

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

      I do. And he has more cred than you can even dream about.

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

      Billy sucks. He'll be gone soon and the world will move on. Morals and laws will shift just as they always do.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  9. Surthurfurd

    Note how many "Christians" follow the "prosperity gospel" which is little more than claiming to be Christian while worshiping Mammon.

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

    @jonjon..I agree. And I am a hetero married for 6 years now, and I have yet to see how someone involved in a gay marriage is affecting my way of life. Furthermore, If Jesus was alive today he would call the majority of these right wingers pharacies.

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

      I think you are on target with all of that.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • sam8131

      Let your g ay buddies babysit your boys.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  11. john

    what will they ban Next? that's what I'm worried about. Soon they may say that if you tell folks that god doesn't exist you may be sent to a secret location for re-education. don't laugh, it's not that many hundreds of years sense the Spanish Inquisition. Just think hard about what could be banned and you may not be far of the mark.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Gay Billy

      Ban Religion!

      May 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  12. jim

    This is enforcing Christianity on the whole nation. What about freedom of religion?! This just pushes the hate and will cause more suffering. Lost all respect for the old fool. You worship your idols, I'll worship mine and we should both agree to keep idols out of the law.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  13. Peter

    Look at Billy Graham's face. He's the devil incarnate. And that super-uniform tan: too much time spent in front of the fires. That's gotta be it.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  14. Stephen

    Only in America can a man be as vile and detestable as Billy Graham and still get called Reverend by the press.

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

      It's amazing. The guy merely succeeded at fraud on a huge scale. He's been laughing all the way to the bank ever since. Stupid people just kept giving him their hard earned dough.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Ethan Joshua Lewis

      Sort of like Reverend Jesse Jackson?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Stephen

      @Ethan
      Exactly, no one who insists on being called Reverend should be taken seriously, not Reverend Al Sharpton or Reverend Billy Graham. To do so is to announce to the world that you hold your beliefs to mean that you matter more than your fellow humans and that somehow you are deserving of adoration, praise, and other peoples hard earned money and support. Its high time we stop having to pay lip service to religion before we can have any discussion of civil rights.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  15. Strand

    Hey Billy..considering the divorce rate among heterosxuals is 50 percent, I would say your tradition of marriage has already failed amongst many NON-gay people. Maybe you should try banning divorce instead.

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

      yeah right, Strand. My partner and I have been together for 22 years, and nobody will trust us with a marriage license. Kinda screwed up, huh?

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

      I'm not sure what is more screwed up, christianity or the nutcases that follow it.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  16. hh

    its like standing on the beach with a sword, intending to do battle with the tidal wave that you see in the distance. its coming. equality. gay marriage. in ten years it will be a non issue, and people can turn their attention to issues that actually matter. like poverty. pollution. violence.etc.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Khill

      Good analogy

      May 3, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  17. alextorchwood

    Religion Needs to Stay out of People's Lives, and Bedrooms!

    May 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  18. Thinker

    Religious beliefs should NOT dictate public policy.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  19. Josh C.

    Such a farce. Religion destroys brain cells.

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

    Many Conservative "Christians" actually worship Mammon.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
Advertisement
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.