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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. david riker

    Hoist him up and disembowel him! Feed his intestines to pigs!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  2. dreamer96

    Jesus .... hung out with 12 guys all the time, and you are against gays??

    May 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  3. Alex

    why Billy Graham still alive??
    so I'm going to pray for him
    Dear Jesus, take that ass Billy Graham and put in hell.
    PS: Please don't forget his son too.
    Amen

    May 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • david riker

      AMEN brother!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  4. gadflie

    So, let me get this straight. This loving "God" thing is the one that created an eternal torture chamber that has, as it's only eternal entry requirement, not worshiping this "God"? I've seen playground bullies on stronger moral ground.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  5. perryw

    I am a Christian. This is the US. I believe if you stay out of my beliefs I will stay out of yours. I don't want to tell you how to live and don't tell me how to live. If you force your beliefs on me, I will push back. Live and let live. If you ask me about my beliefs I will tell you. If I want to know yours I will ask you.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • momoya

      Yes but what about your VOTE.. Would you vote in a manner that takes rights away from individuals that you retain?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Patrick

      Don't put gay marriage up for a vote and we won't put straight marriage up for a vote, DEAL?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • tony

      Divest yourself of all wealth, so that you may enter heaven. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle, than for a rich man to enter heaven. And maybe mention that to the rest of the republican Conservatives you happen to know.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Observer

      PerryW,

      So do you believe in equal rights for ALL Americans or are you trying to force your beliefs onto others?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • perryw

      I vote on economics, not social issues. I am an Independent voter and what you believe is your business.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • airforce1990

      If you are a Christian you're not doing what God said to do. He said to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Patrick

      perryw gets it.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Observer

      perryw,

      So you won't vote about gay marriage?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  6. david riker

    Billy is the great grand daddy of every greedy and debased tel-evangelist that ever lived. Guys like Falwell suckled at his hateful breast. Santorum, Bachmann, Gingrich, and Rick Perry promulgate this depraved tradition. He is a foul disease in the body politic, and I would have it out!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • tony

      Get thou behind us, Satans!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  7. tony

    Limited, controlled, happiness is the god-given right of only the religious to provide you. Come up with your own independent happiness and/or magic, and they condemn you as heretics. And if that doesn't work, then they make laws and eventually turn to violence to gain the upper hand. History repeats itself over and over. But they don't want you to go to school to find that out.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  8. Surthurfurd

    It is interesting how the a
    theists seem to know the Bible better than the Christians. Well, maybe they are atheists because they know the Bible better.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Observer

      That's what a recent poll/test showed.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • tony

      Logical, reasonable, smart thinking. But not something a religious person can understand, unltil he can get his demons expunged

      May 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Patrick

      That's why I became one. I started actually reading the nonsense.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  9. tony

    All religious figures end up wanting to control other's lives. Yet they don't want to get to their fabulous afterlife in heaven any faster. Hypocrites all.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      Tony, it's always a matter of "control." That's one of the reasons why religious people detest non-believers so much. They can't control us. Ostensibly it is because they want us to be able to "join" the kingdom of heaven. But the reality is always the same: It's a matter of control.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Steveo

      WE all are hypocrites at times hate to break it to you pal hope he wins this vote sick of all the perverted minds taking over this country. We aren't the united states of fairies after all

      May 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Steveo

      Their not out to control you just to free you but guess you will never see it that way

      May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  10. MZGUGU

    THE ISSUE IS NOT POLITICAL RATHER IT MAY BE RELIGOUS AND SOCIAL WITHOUT TAKE SIDE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT
    ADAM AND ADAM COW AND COW BULL AND BULL ROASTER AND ROASTER HEN AND HEN SO THERE WILL BE NO
    EGGS SIMPLY JUST SAY NO TO GAY MARRIAGE ITS NOT NATURAL ITS NO ACCEPTABLE

    May 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      So marriage only exists to have children? Sounds like a breeding program for animals.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Tom

      Ummmm, can't we all just start saying OUT LOUD what EVERYONE KNOWS to be true? Religious fundamentalists are IDIOTS!!!!!!! HELLLO!!!!!!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Observer

      The Internet did not exist naturally, but I'll bet you didn't think of that.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      MZGUGU, you don't know what you're talking about. For example dolphins routinely practice same s*x mating habits in the wild. For them it's as natural as nature itself. BTW, sometimes dolphins will try to mate with human females, which (as you can imagine) is VERY dangerous for the humans. For that reason, experienced divers will advise against human females going around adult dolphins at a "certain" time of the month.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Jonquil

      You sound like a eugenicist. And isn't it sad, how incapable the human race is of reproducing, all because of g.a.y people, that we'll only have 9 billion of us on this planet over the next few decades? It's an emergency, I tell you.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Sane Person

      Ahh the delusional argument of the "believer". It really is a pity you people need to imagine up an old, winged, invisible, bearded man who lives in the clouds and communicates once every few thousand years by lighting bushes on fire, to give you purpose and direction.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  11. topperG

    just another meaningless story...

    May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  12. Susan Knox

    I agree with the Bible and all it says. If the Bible says it's right, it's right. And if the Bible says it's wrong, it's wrong. This doesn't mean I don't love those who live in opposition to the word of God. I love them, I want what's best for them, and living eternally in Heaven with Jesus IS what's best for them. If you love the Lord, you will obey Him, no matter how you feel. God loves you, He wants what's best for you. It's worth any sacrifice in this life to attain the next.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Does that mean that men can have multiple wives and keep slave concubines?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • gadflie

      So, you believe that rabbits chew their cud and insects have four legs. Good for you!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Observer

      So do you obey the Bible when it picks on gays?

      Or do you obey the Bible when it talks about the Golden Rule? Take your pick.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Patrick

      Lev 25:44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Patrick

      Exo 21:20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Patrick

      Gen 19:33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

      34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

      36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Bob

      So Susan, the bible says you should sacrifice an animal today. Since you're so obedient, what animal was it that you slaughtered senselessly and burned for your sky fairy?

      Note that the bible is very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes your sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Please, stop referencing that Christian book of nasty, AKA the bible, as a guide to, well, anything.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Patrick

      Deut 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 8:05 pm |
    • Patrick

      Gen 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 8:06 pm |
    • Patrick

      1 Tim 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 8:07 pm |
    • Patrick

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

      May 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Patrick

      1 Corinth 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 8:08 pm |
    • Patrick

      1 Corinth 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 8:09 pm |
    • Patrick

      Matt 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 8:10 pm |
    • Patrick

      Numb 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 8:10 pm |
    • fred

      Bob
      ok, I gotta know, do you really believe the Bible says that we should carry out old Hebrew tribal cerimony today in Time Square?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Patrick

      2 Kngs 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 8:11 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      Some more biblical atrocities:

      "NU 31:17-18 Moses, following the Lord's command, orders the Israelites to kill all the Midianite male children and "... every woman who has known man ...." (Note: How would it be determined which women had known men? One can only speculate.)

      Gather up your biblical atrocities: The god of the old testament is a psychopath.

      "JG 3:29 The Israelites kill about 10,000 Moabites".

      sanjosemike

      May 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • fred

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

      May 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  13. jamessavik

    Why does the opinion of one religious fanatic matter any more than the Ayatollah?

    This is why we keep church and state separate regardless of what fruitcakes like Santorum or Bachmann think.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Jeff

      I'd love to see anyone of you Bible bashers stand at a podium and debate your thoughts and "beliefs" against God with any of the people you call morons. These people are not idiots, they are educated successful leaders in our society, held in high esteem by many of our countrymen. I myself attend Church with doctors, professors scientists as well as many folks just like myself. These are super intelligent people, they are not fools or idiots. I am not a fool or idiot. If you have never had a personal encounter with the Divine (and in my case it was totally unlooked for and unexpected, and at the time unwanted) then you can never, with any shread of credibility speak against those that have. There are likely thousands of things you have not yet experienced or know about. Does that make them impossible to exist? It is foolish to attack such people based purely on your own personal beliefs. I pray one day you will have an awakening like I did and the world shown to you in a completely new light.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  14. Surthurfurd

    When you look at the agenda of Right Wing Christians and the agenda of the Taliban... it is hard to see what the difference is.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  15. GonzoG

    Those who disagree with Rev Graham (such as myself) are perfectly free to do so, but....it is unseemly to wish harm or sling graphic insults at him.

    He IS a good man even if we disagree with his beliefs–we simply cannot allow him to continue to impose his beliefs on others any longer.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      I totally agree.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Crom

      He's not, so there is no need to defend him. He's a sleazy piece of crap who is near death from old age and dementia.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  16. cnsrv

    Billy is known racist and bigot. His bigoted words on the nixon tapes shows him as a low life redneck. nothing more.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Joseph

      whatever boy

      May 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  17. SoPoJim

    All these years I thought he was different,now he exposes himself as a bigot

    May 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  18. L. Shaw

    lets all pray for this SOB to die, and soon!

    May 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Joseph

      F U

      May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  19. Leo

    Look how clear the scriptures are to the world today, and these were written nearly 2000 years ago!

    Romans 1

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

    28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Your god is a pri.ck.....

      May 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • edwardo

      Shove ur scriptures!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Leo, are you commenting on the Prosperity Gospel ideal that is worshiped here in the US as if it was really a Christian ideal?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • gadflie

      Yep, Paul didn't like the reasons that God himself actually gave so he decided to do a rewrite.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • SoPoJim

      But that's if you believe that those writings have any significance. To me and many others you may as well be quoting from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. We don't base our life around nonsense.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Observer

      Romans (12:20) also says “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”

      Do you believe and practice EVERYTHING that Romans says?

      Answer please.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Observer

      Leo,

      "Look how clear the scriptures are to the world today, and these were written nearly 2000 years ago!"

      So do you believe that serpents can understand language and talk and do you believe in unicorns? Get serious.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Leo

      Feeding them with the word of God we all need that!! Read it and learn!!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Observer

      Leo,

      Sorry you missed my questions. They are RIGHT above.

      Could you please try again?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Leo

      Observer, If Satan can talk through a Snake like you why not some other animal? FYI it wasn't a snake but was cursed to go on its belly like a snake afterward, and the unicorn – Rhinoceros unicornis fits the picture pretty good!!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • fred

      Observer
      I think you know that unicorns were thought to refer to an extinct two prong horse or rino depending on verse? Yes ? If not give me the verses and Iwill check it out.
      What you don’t hear the serpents on this web site asking “did God really say that?”

      May 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Jonquil

      Hmm. The way I read that, this is what happened:

      Ovr 2,000 years ago, the parents of two boys from different families, tried to marry them off, but they were in love with eachother and continued to return to eachother. Their parents and society furiously opposed their relationship, but the couple fought back, defied their parents (the talking back to parents, bit), maybe had to defend themselves against people trying to stone or kill them (that might have resulted in the violence their relationship supposedly brought upon itself) and it's possible the whole thing ended badly. Of course, it wasn't their being together that "caused" all those bad things, it was how society reacted to it.

      All in all, sounds like a tragic love story. Sort of a "Romeo and Juliet", but between two boys. Think of it in historical context and you'll come to understand how these stories were written down and how people relied on "signs" and confirmation of their beliefs, in how they approached the World. Hence, the boys were bad because of their relationship, not because of how they were treated for it.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  20. Steve

    Stratigically, I think the LGBT community should focus on strengthening civil unions as close to legal marriage as possible. Keep the church out of it. It riles up the religious bunch into crazy amendments like North Carolina's. God will bless a loving union regardless of the label you put on it.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Patrick

      What about the many churches that want to marry gays and lesbians? What about their religious rights?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:00 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.