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. Surthurfurd

    A fanatic never lets the facts get in the way of their opinion... even if the facts are quotations from the text they claim to rely on.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  2. Luch

    shame on those who preach such hate and ignorance for traditional moral values whihc built this country...we continue to go down the road of secular humanism to our great peril...wake people we must be in the end of days

    May 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      You are upset that we outlawed slavery and gave women the right to vote?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Sharon Chang

      Nah, this fool just wants to be able to stone his kids to death if they disobey him. that's all he really wants.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • gadflie

      Yep, that path brought us, well, this country in the first place, then it went and ended slavery. As if that wasn't enough, it allowed them pesky women to vote. Damn, we need to stop it NOW!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  3. Joe citizen abroad

    Dr. Graham is in denial that gay families exist, and will continue to exist, regardless of an up or down vote, or a newspaper campaign. This is not about defining marriage. This is about protecting those families and their rights. It is not for Dr. Graham to judge...it is for God. If you believe the words of Jesus, our job is to love one another. Denying rights and benefits to these families is not an act of love. It is, unfortunately, a political act, and sad, after Dr. Graham's lifetime of managing to stay mostly above politics. I worry that he may be subject to the undue influence of his highly political son. I hope he will not be remembered for this unfortunate misstep.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  4. It comes down to this...

    The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

    May 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Do you ever do any shopping or work for a business on Sunday?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • slumberjack

      Well Corinthians 2:14 got it half right. Not because of being spiritually discerned though, but because it is foolishness.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • It comes down to this...

      @Surthurfurd
      No, but some Christians work on Sunday and Jesus did not condemn them. If you knew God you would have the Spirit of God and you would not ask such questions because you would understand how the whole Word of God fits together and the verses that seem to contradict each other really don't. But that is why I posted the verse from 1 Corintians. You are not smarter than God regardless of what you think.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Madtown

      understand how the whole Word of God fits together
      ----
      The bible is the written word of man. If you think it's the "word of God", it's only because that's what you've been told. Cannot possibly be true, God didn't write it, edit it, and select the individual works that comprise it, as man did.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  5. Observer

    fred,

    There are numerous references to unicorns in the Bible like:

    – Psalm 22:21 “Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”
    – Psalm 29:6 “He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”
    – Psalm 92:10 “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”

    May 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Leo

      Rhinoceros unicornis fits the description, but the Hebrew word is rĕ'em.

      Why do your struggle with silly things when the rest of the Bible is pretty clear, it is not the 10 suggestions....

      May 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  6. Hal

    Even among evangelicals, 44% of the 18-29 group supports marriage equality. What we are seeing is the dying wheezes of a belief whose time is coming to an end. Billy Graham can have his moment of cheap cruelty. Soon he and his bigotry will be an embarrassment, and after that, forgotten.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  7. Z

    Billy Graham is out dated, old, hard headed and cannot learn. Like the GOP.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • slumberjack

      He's their idea of a pin up poster.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  8. slumberjack

    What a shame. I thought this guy croaked years ago. What Hitchens said of Falwell seems most appropriate where it concerns Graham. "Its a pity there isn't a hell for him to go to." Plan B however might involve organizing bus tours when the moment does arrive, so that people can go and dance on his grave.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  9. Phil

    Surthurfurd, whats your point? Marriage was around long before the bible was.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Yes, though we seem to assume here in the US that marriage was always exactly what it is today. Actually what we consider to be the "normal" mechanism for marriage would have been considered to be an extreme sin not too long ago.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  10. Phil

    Billy Graham, please die. The world will be a much better place.

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

      HEY PHIL...why don't you die? Jerk

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Karolyn

      And Billy Graham is considered hateful?? You people are SICK! How can you accuse people of spewing hate by stating they want marriage legally defined as being between a man and a woman, yet speak such horrific things such as wishing someone dead!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  11. Bhawk

    Oh Billy Boy–I remember the Nixon tapes and how you hated the Jews back then...Whats the old song say- "hate your neighbor but dont forget to say grace".

    May 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      How dare you bring up facts!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  12. chiggi

    There are already countries like the one our own religious zelots want, they're called theocracies and they have names like Iran, Saudia Arabia... Doesn't sound like freedom to me. I suppose the next logical step will be to put the rest of Leviticus into state law. So... better get the stoning pits ready.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  13. BYSTANDER

    So should he campaign to ban divorce too "to protect marriage"?

    May 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      The Bible directly prohibits divorce except after severe violations.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Phil

      And Marriage was around before the bible was. So whats your point?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Not Yet!!!!!

      Don't ban divorce until my divorce finalizes!!!!!!!

      You're scaring the crap out of me!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Patti in Dallas

      Phil – Marriage before the Bible was polygamy and concubines. What's your point?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Provide sources if you are going to put out a whopper like that one, Patti. Polygamy is fairly rare in all the cultures before christianity, and concubines are the province of kings and rich people (polygamy was also – too expensive for most people).

      May 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Patti ran away. Normal Christian hit and run thing. Wild assertion, no support, flee.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  14. Tom

    Graham. Do you believe that God created all people including Gay people? If so then how can you deny those people the love that all of gods people are supposed to enjoy? I don't think you know what love really is.

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

      Do you believe God created the people who became pedophiles? Would he want them to be "happy" by fulfilling their perversions?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Motrek

      God created all people with freedom of choice. Choose to live by God's standards and you'll be OK. Choose to disobey and you will be in a world of hurt. How do people become gay? Choice? Born that way? Environmental factors? Doesn't matter. Recognize that you are sinning, admit it to God, He will forgive and heal. No kidding! Try it!

      May 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  15. Steveo

    The reason you guys hate Christianity aka religious people so much is because deep down inside you know it's true and want to deny it so much it makes you angry and you know your wrong but it still bothers you deep down inside. Yes there are fakes out there trying to control people but that's not just in Christianity why don't you pray to God to change your heart and read the bible on your own.

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

      I do not hate Christians. I love lots of Christians. I find repulsive any group that seeks to impose their way of life on others and denies a consistent application of morality.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Observer

      Why not pray to God to eliminate all the Christian HYPOCRITES who pick on gays for an "abomination" (like eating lobster), while IGNORING the MUCH GREATER problem of sin by Christian ADULTERERS?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Hal

      Or, maybe the reason we hate Christians so much is that they are trying to take away our rights. You can believe in whatever deity you want, but equal means equal.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Tom

      Stevo,
      Why don't you pray to God to change your heart? It is you and Graham that are not showing love to one of your Gods creations.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Bhawk

      I don't consider you Christians. There are so few of us in the world.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Bill Freidline

      Funny how everyone's personal delusion is "the one true religion"......why there must be millions and millions of 'em by now.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  16. Observer

    Leo,

    Why not grow up? I didn't do any name-calling but you resorted to juvenile name-calling when I JUST ASKED you two questions about the Bible and your beliefs.

    Why aren't you willing to testify as to your religious beliefs?

    May 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Leo

      Don't delude yourself any further, you know what you are doing, you know what your master wants you to do, keep it up he is proud of you!!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Leo

      I did by the way look back at my post that you didn't reply to properly. And yes I do feed the poor, and I give to solid Christian Ministries in the Philippines, and Africa. I have also hand delivered food to the poor.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Leo

      It makes me no better than anyone, but I try.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Observer

      Leo,

      Speaking of delusions, you're the person who insists everyone should follow the Bible, but are unwilling to answer questions about it. You quote from it, but are AFRAID to respond to other quotes from the Bible. You won't even claim you believe every word of it.

      You're not doing well to support your book.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Observer

      Leo,

      It's interesting that you consider people in Africa and the Phillipines to be your "enemy". Not surprising.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  17. angelika

    More religious franatics. When will this Religious bullying stop???? Shame on all of you Billy Graham. Cause your way of God's Love is not the real way of Jesus love!!!!!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  18. Le Cheri

    YES! YES! YES!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  19. rick snyder

    the best thing i have heard in a long time. people had better listen and take heed if they want our country to survive. the path we are taking is a path of no return. if we don't stay with god we are in serious trouble!!

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

      Funny, that sounds like what the Taliban were saying.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • It comes down to this...

      @Surtherfurd
      Sounds nothing like the Taliban.
      And Right Wing Christians just want to defend freedom. Got a problem with that?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Jason

      True that.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • metb

      Boy i hope the taliban dont get a foot hold here in america because they hate gays and will kill all of them. They have a zero tolerance with that, you think the christains are bad . not good ....

      May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Does defending freedom suggest that you have the right to limit the freedoms of others?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  20. Surthurfurd

    Right Wing Christians just want us to have as many children as possible to fight their wars for them.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Jason

      Not true. Christians have no wars. God has not commanded a nation to go to war since Old Testament times. Sometimes nations need to go to war for the right cause.

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

      According to Jason here, The USA must be the greatest heathen nation on the planet for the amount of times they've disobeyed their god by taking to war.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:49 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.