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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. mauve123

    Sad isn't it to see a person like Billy Graham (who most people thought was dead) come out with this bit of crap. During the conversation about his wayward son, Franklin, most people said "too bad this poor excuse of a son who wants the bazillions of dollars his father took from the people, too bad he isn't more like his father". Well, maybe Franklin is just like his father. Maybe it is time, if you believe in a God, to let God speak to you directly and cut out these bigoted middle men.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  2. Anthony

    Now that I look closer THAT IS the Reverand Kane from Poltergeist 2. OMG "God is in His holy temple,
    All the earth keep silence here..."

    May 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  3. bizziel

    If churches want to be involved in politics and shape American lives, then pay taxes like every other f'n American. Fu•ck religion and their self righteous "leadership". religion is a business, plain and simple. It makes money.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  4. Paul

    Senile.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  5. Jodey

    I used to respect Billy Graham. Now I see him as just one more ignorant, bigoted American wanting to keep equal rights away from his fellow Americans.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Ed

      I totally agree. I could respect him because he did refrain from trying to insert religious dogma into the political realm. Sad to see this change.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  6. ZeldaMan

    Last time I checked, religion should stick to practicing religion and stay the F out of politics.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mark

      Politics should have no part in this fight. States should be forced to marry whoever the heck wants to and let the churches decline to marry them if they don't want to.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Bill

      This is not about politics. No one is running for political office in relation to this ammendment. He is taking a position, and encourating others to do the same, concerning the definition of marriage. He is taking a Biblical position on a current issue, something he and thousands of others have done many times over the years, and have full freedom to do now. This has nothing to do with politics, a political party, or anyone running for office.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Mark

      @ bill .....last I checked the amendment is being passed by POLITICIANS so it's all about politics! I don't care what billy graham said because this shouldn't be open to debate the way it is now anyway.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Bill

      Mark, That is not correct. This is not a law being passed by a select group of people holding political office. This is something being passed, or not, by the citiznes of North Carolina, the people at large, not the politicians. It is fine for you not to care what Dr. Graham says, but it is just as fine and fair for him to hold and to state his opinion. Others are doing so. As a public fugire, his opinion just gets airtime, while ours does not.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      Religion IS politics.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  7. petros5699

    These comments reflect the level of decay, can anyone not see a future of shame and disgrace and utter destruction? With low life's like this populating this nation, you never had morals, your parents should have retained you in a condom, but alas, you will receive a just recompense from the almighty who rules in the affairs of man, proportionately! That's the key word.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • The Don

      You will more than others, as the Bible clearly states that God and ONLY God is the judge of all; not so-called christians who don't ever if at all read the Bible. Try the boobk of Mathew and yo uwill see who will be lastly judged

      May 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Duh

      Condoms are not allowed in your almighty heaven of self-jerking that is religion.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Mark

      @ duh ...that's not remotely true. Catholic craziness doesn't = all religions.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Jonquil

      We don't live under a Theology, petros5699. And I don't understand how you think displaying such mouth-foaming hate, is morally rightous. You've lost your way.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  8. Abs

    I think he did this so that we would all know that he's still alive. Soon Abe Vigoda will be chiming in too.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Duh

      Hysterical

      May 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  9. marius

    The sad decline of the "Christian Faith", Jesus where are you already... these lunatics are making a mess of your flock!?!

    May 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  10. effelbee

    How exactly dopes gay marriage affect anyone other than the parties to the marriage. It seems to me that conventional marriage has been in trouble for years, threatened by cultural changes, financial stagnation for the middle class, and no-fault divorce. The right wing never managed to defeat any of these, so now that latch on to the definition! How silly.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Duh

      That is why this is unconsitutional on its face. It might as well say, only right-handed people can get married.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Jonquil

      Yeah, Christian Evangelists don't have some special right to decide who are consenting adults and who are not. It infuriates them because they belive they are special people, chosen, morally superior and should be the hands of God on Earth. If we were to go by them and their holy books, some people would be less than human (slave), 11 year olds would be consenting adults and an egg that hasn't implanted into a woman's womb, would be considered an "unborn child".

      They're power mad - they want to control our thoughts, force everyone under a Theocacy and dictate how to define our humanity.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  11. EmeraldCity

    So basically, this much-revered man, who is approaching that forever paradise in the sky is revealing himself in his final days to be a bigoted crusader for hate.

    Fine job and no surprise. The evangelical movement in this country has got to be put down like the sick animal that it is.,

    May 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • shron

      How come if you don't believe or back gay marriage you're a bigot. I have gay friends. I don't believe in gay marriage and would vote against it. I'm not a bigot. Everyone doesn't have to jump on the gay marriage bandwagon and it's ignorant to tell people who believe (know) that marriage is a union between man and woman that they are a bigot for not supporting your beliefs. If anyone is wrong it's the LGBT groups that want to jump down your throat when you don't agree with them. Don't believe in gay marriage well we're going to boycott and hopefully you'll lose your job. sounds like the LGBT groups are the bullies.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Duh

      It is not UP for a vote. VOting implies you have a choice over allowing something. People are people and get the same level of RIGHTS as everyone else, so there is VOTE on who should get protection by being within the MARRIED class. The religioinists have hijacked the term "married". Let them have it. All Marriages (religious process) still need to be verified by the state to enjoy "SECULAR CIVIL UNION" no matter the gender of the parties. We are discussing this on their definitions. Marriage is NOT a state sanctioned act, Civil unions are. Turn the tables on them and flip it.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • BRC

      shron,
      You don't want people to have something that other people do have; that would have nop negative effect on you. You believe there should be laws to enforce this. You are a bigot. You may be a well meaning bigot, you may be a bigot who can easily change, but you are a bigot. That would be why.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  12. meaz23

    Billy had a secret male lover for many years as he son Franklin does now.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  13. Richard

    This is the same bigot that was so awful in speaking of Jews when Richard Nixon was president. Why would anyone listen to this guy. His son is just as bad. He is still trying to say Obama is a Muslim.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      People have long since forgotten his early years, and it did appear he had become a more tolerant person. Sadly, we seem to have fund the limits if his decency.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  14. dean

    I am thinking that perhaps Rev. Graham should stay in the retirement mode and not speak out on this. He has a right to his own thoughts and has expressed them. However, for a Christian man to be involved in this is rediculous at best. He apparently is stillo in his own thoughts of 70 years ago, my advice to Rev Graham with all due respect is, grow up Rev Graham, accept the way things are and that everyone has a right to be who they are.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  15. scoobster

    We all need treatment from an illness-mental, physical and emotional. This is no different. If it were 'normal' to be gay, than healthy gays could pro-create.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Richard

      Gay animals have existed since time began. It is not a lifestyle.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • scoobster

      Exactly. We are not animals. We have laws, consciences, willpower. Hence, it is an illness.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • I SEE IDIOTS

      Really scoobster?? Some people just don't get it...others are just plain ignorant... Sad really. 😦

      May 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Jodey

      Scoobster, human beings are indeed animals. We have instincts, and we are complex bags of chemicals.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • NC88

      If Rev. Graham or any of the other Republicans wish to protect marriage, it's very easy. Make it a crime for men\women to cheat on their spouses and leave their families or put their family unit in chaos.

      A year in jail and a hefty fine and I'm betting the divorce rates will drop. Married people who cheat on their spouses are a far greater danger to the state of marriage in this country then gay/lesbian couples.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Schnazy12

      Normal isn't the right word. Scientifically proven that human beings are born gay is the correct phrase. Also, we are animals evolved from other animals. You seem like the type of person that has a hard time understanding anything physics/math/engineering related. You don't need to worry too much though, we scientists will do the thinking while you read a ficticious text and pull out just the parts that make you feel better about your place in this universe. Ignorance is bliss...enjoy.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  16. Mark

    Gay Marriage should not be a government issue, states should not be allowed to ban it. From a religious perspective all the churches can do whatever the heck they want at that point. I don't know why we keep trying to legislate this when there is no need to. Stop wasting tax payer money and work on fixing this country.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  17. Erisian

    Oh, and I'm shocked the conservatives didn't try to get this on the November ballot. North Carolina will likely be a swing state, and nothing gets the evangelicals out like gay marriage initiatives.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  18. joels2000

    I can't wait for this mans death. I will drive a vodka, sprite with a splash of cranberry the first chance I get upon hearing his death...

    May 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • me138

      Cheers to that!

      May 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • SpeakUp

      Astonishing statement. So much for the tolerant left. To the leftist tolerance means accepting what they want, with no debate or analysis or discourse. Joel is pure hatred. We don't need that in America. Grow up.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Duh

      I do not find him full of hate. I find him whimsical. It is Graham that is full of hate. Enough hate to keep people from doing what god intended them to do. Love one another.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  19. Erisian

    I support Graham's right to define marriage as he sees it through the church. That's his right. But what is on the ballot is how the government defines marriage. Two different things. If people in North Carolina do not like gay marriage, they should get in touch with their church elders, not their elected officials.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  20. Anthony

    Dude looks like that cult leader priest from Poltergeist 2. "Yer all gonna diiiiiieeeeyyy"

    May 3, 2012 at 1:47 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.