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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. Andrus

    Willy nilly, Billy is silly.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  2. jb

    At 94, I doubt very much that Mr. Graham is offering his 2 cents on the marriage issue, given he had a platform of tolerance and stayed out of politics most of his life. Its more the folks in the background who are looking for an opportunity to manipulate his work and message. The Republicans, that's who.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  3. Peter

    He is already dead, so is Christianity!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • yikes

      Spoken like a true fool ....mom

      May 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • david riker

      It needs periodic re-killing.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  4. Grant

    " "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.” "

    Separation of church and state, Love it or leave it.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Observer

      Time to tax all the churches.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  5. JRZKNIGHT

    When this old cremudgen finally breathes his last breath and he becomes part of the light and energy that fills the universe, lets hope it finally clicks with him and he realzes just how wrong he was in this lifetime.

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

    Marriage is between Man & Women Period!!!!!!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Can a man marry more than one woman? The Old Testament says they can.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • JRZKNIGHT

      ... for now. 🙂

      May 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Peter

      Just exactly how many "women" can each man have? You want people to take you seriously , when you can not even spell? Back in your hole, toad!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • yikes

      When peter blows his brains out, as small small as it is, he will finally know the truth while he is burning in hell

      May 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  7. Josh

    The bible has nothing to do with this. Right-wing Christian opposition to gays and abortion is rooted in richie riches who just want to ensure a big, uneducated and poor labor pool, to keep wages down. We're nothing more than cattle to the wealthy.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Yes, but that assumes people claiming to be Christians have read what the Bible says.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  8. Rob

    Good for you Billy Graham, decency and morality must be supported, while deviency and perversion must be fought at all levels and against all those that support it. Out with the liberal Democrat supporters of perversion. Out with Obama. NOBAMA 2012.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      You definitely did not read the Sermon on the Mount. One of the most Liberal Sermons ever.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Sharon Chang

      You'd better read 1 Cor 6:9-10, and hold yourself to the same standard you profess for others, Robbie. You'd better hope to "god" you don't find yourself in one of those categories when it comes time for you to kick the bucket. Sure sounds to me like you're doing some "revling" on this comment board...and hope you're not a covetous guy...for your sake.

      1 Cor 6:9-10: Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Observer

      Sharon Chang,

      There's practically NO CHANCE that you support all of Corinthians.

      What was your point?

      May 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Sarah Chang

      I don't support it al all. But Rob obviously does, so he should hold himself to the same standard. That's all.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  9. Sharon Chang

    Whine, b itch and complain all you want, fundies. In less than one generation, no one will remember you anymore, and your kids and grandkids will grow up despising your brand of Christianity. Keep fantasizing about the existence of your se xl ess, all-whi te, all-stra ight, all-non-Cat holic Evangelical Christian heaven. For the rest of us, you couldn't arrive there soon enough.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  10. Sharon Chang

    Whine, b itch and complain all you want, fundies. In less than one generation, no one will remember you anymore, and your kids and grandkids will grow up despising your brand of Christianity. Keep fantasizing about the existence of your se xless, all-white, all-straight, all-non-Cat holic Evangelical Christian heaven. For the rest of us, you couldn't arrive there soon enough.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  11. JasonFrmTampa

    Some day, within the next 10 to 20 yrs, North Carolina will apologize to the gay and lesbian community and Billy Graham will be compared to George Wallace, one of America's most outspoken supporters of racial segregation in the 1960s.

    History always repeats itself.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Sharon Chang

      damn straight. And Rick Santorum will be compared to Strom Thurmond.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  12. Curious Georgia

    He's still alive?

    May 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  13. Polo

    Jesus, save me from your followers.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • El Toro

      Most of them anyway...

      May 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  14. I am God

    No religious group owns marriage. Marriage is a right, not a control mechanism by a few religious nuts.

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

      God (the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ) owns marriage. He invented it. He designed it to work in His creation. Don't like the way He designed it? Just leave. You won't be invited back in.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • I am God

      Motrek you are a clueless nut. The term "marriage" was only named by Christians. Marriage itself has been around for centuries. Long before Christianity came along.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Motrek

      The God who invented marriage as defined in Genesis CH 2 is the same God who promised the coming of Christ in Genesis CH 3. Get a clue you say?

      May 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  15. Polo

    Never too late to hate monger, eh Billy?

    May 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  16. Surthurfurd

    I know lots of Christians who try to follow the 10 Commandments and what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount but ignore old tribal law from Levidicus.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  17. jqent

    Looney Tunes! Did anyone even have to read this story to know what was said? All so utterly predictable, so futile, and so useless in the real world.

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

      Thanks for your comments after you obviously read the article before trashing it.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  18. Bhawk

    I don't know why so many of you think or brand yourseld christian. Most people that do follow the false teachings of one known as Paul, the false prophet. Very few men follow the Christ. None of them have written here.

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

      That is sadly true. I fear that many think they are following God and in reality they are following the prosperity religion that follows Mammon.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  19. maggotfist

    "God" would prefer kind Deists, to hateful Christians,..of this I'm sure.

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

      Don't speak for God fool....mom

      May 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  20. Patricksday

    How many Gay people do they have in North Carolina, and out of that how many will actually get married?? Too Bad Billy Graham does not care enough about political issues impacting average Americans who struggle at the expense of Corporate America and its GREED. How about finding something in your Republican Bible like that Billy.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:43 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.