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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. Ryan

    Not a surprise that Billy is a voice for hate. Remember the Nixon tapes?

    May 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  2. Amanda

    While I am a Christian, I believe in seperation of church and state and hence gays right to marry. Jesus didn't legislate that we believe in him, it is by his grace and our choice that some of us do. In the same spirit, Christians shouldn't force their morality on others. Jesus didn't push himself on others, so why do those of us that claim to do things in His name force our beliefs on others in the form of legislation... stop it.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • arun

      fine! and, the same should also apply to gays, they should also stop trying to use the government to impose their views on the rest of us. this is not so one-sided as you make it out to be. in a multicultural and multi-religious and multi-belief society - govt should get out of business of legislating one group's beliefs for the rest of us - include the LGBT groups. everyone should be free to practice their belief without forcing in it on others with govt's help.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      Arun – we're not talking BELIEFS – we're talking about CIVIL RIGHTS.

      Too bad you're too ephing stupid to know what the difference is.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Huebert

      @arun

      How is the LGBT community imposing it's views on society, or you specifically?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Jim tom

      Arun, that does not make any sense. Gays wanting to marry is not infringing on your beliefs. They are not forcing anything on you. All you are saying is the exact same thing religious people always say, with different wording: "Everyone has to do what we believe, whether or not it affects us."

      May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      @arun Gay's aren't imposing any beliefs on government, they are fighting for equality, the same way blacks and women fought for their equali...I mean beliefs. Christians claim that all men were created equal, and assuming this also includes women, the LGBT community shouldn't have to fight for basic human rights, because they shouldn't have had them taken away in the first place.

      @Amanda if only the majority of Christians were like you, then we'd have a great decrease in problems around the world.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Michael

      @ Amanda, Not sure why my original post didn't apply, but the fact is that first you need to read the Bible. Jesus was a revolutionary, he challenged the religious system of his day. He didn't just sit in a happy circle and say do whatever you want world. He preached to the religious and sinners a like, telling them right from wrong. He taugh love, but not blind love (in others ignore the bad and wrong). He taught and showed love while still remaining pure and holy. Take the adulterous woman that the religious were going to stone. He saved her, but then after he saved her, he told her to go and sin no more.

      "so why do those of us that claim to do things in His name force our beliefs on others in the form of legislation"

      So, you say not to force our beliefs on others. However, gay marriage has not been legal in this country ever and so Christians are not trying to change something that has already been allowed, we are trying to make the law define the way marriage has always been since this country started. So, the truth is we are not forcing our beliefs on someone else, they are forcing their beliefs on us and expecting us to go along with it. To me that statement is like picking a fight with your sibling and then getting mad and blaming the sibling when they fight back. That just doesn't make sense.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Micahael,
      Your argument is just as valid to use against inter-racial marriage as well as voting rights for women and blacks. Which is to say that your argument has no validity whatsoever. Just because we have been wrong in the past and present is no reason to perpetuate it. Yes, you are doing everything you can to block our fellow citizens civil rights and for that I lose all respect of you as an American and a human.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  3. DrewNYC

    The bible is anything BUT clear. Billy Graham and religious opponents of gay marriage are just using the bible to justify hate and persecution the same way people used it to justify slavery. Any real scholar of the bible will conclude that the laws written in Leviticus were cultural laws to separate them from other tribes. You can't pick one law that you're uncomfortable with and forget about the rest. Hope you don't like shellfish, or wear clothes made from different fibers. Stop trying to call your hate and bigotry something other than hate and bigotry.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Amanda

      Amen DrewNYC!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • shiney

      The Bible isn't clear you say? Well, God created Adam & Eve NOT Adam & Steve . He also gave Adam & Eve children – again, NOT Adam & Steve.... I would say it's pretty clear.

      Furthermore, read Romans 1 of your Bible – again, pretty clear how God feels about gay relationships.

      Go Bro. Graham!!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • shiney

      Also, haven't heard of a town called "Sodom & Gamorrah"? It's pretty clear...

      May 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      @shiney

      I feel sorry for you if you took that story literally. I also feel sorry for you if you didn't realize that there are two versions of the creation story in the bible. Seeing as you don't seem to question anything, I won't hold it against you.

      I find it troubling that not one of the authors of the New Testament actually met Jesus first hand, yet everyone takes the bible word for word rather than the overall message of love. The gospels, Paul/Saul, one of the many Jonhs; none of them had any witness of Jesus. No, this does not disprove the existence of Jesus, but it does raise questions on the authors validity. Why were some books included in the bible, yet other gospels like the gospel of Peter were left out? The answer to all of this is just use a little common sense and realize that it's not all literal, it's for teachings.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  4. Robert Boohi

    Mr. Graham and folks who are aligned with his view on this issue are hate personified.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • jeff

      How do you figure that? When you don't agree with something does that mean you are hate personified. By your reasoning if you don't agree with what Osama bin Laden did you are hate personified? Start thinking before you start your holier than thou diatribe.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      Jeff... YOU telling someone else not to be holier than thou... WHAT A CROCK OF CRAP!

      You relgidiots really need to go.

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

      Not true.... those of us who agree with Bro. Graham aren't hate personified....

      God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus to die for the entire world in order for all of us to escape Hell if we put our faith & trust in Him and the work Jesus did on the cross. Why? Because, He love us. In turn, "christians" which means "little Christ" are to be Christ-like – meaning love the sinner (everyone), but hate the sin & stand against it. Really it's an easy concept – you can love someone & not like/approve what they do.

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

      Just because Mr. Graham has a different moral opinion than you doesn't mean it is hate speech. No one can accept differences of opinion/morals these days. Liberals one second want to come off all accepting of anything and everything, next second when someone differs from their opinion, the other person is full of hate or bigotry.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      He can believe any silly thing he wishes but when he actively fights against millions of our citizens civil rights he becomes nothing more than another traitor to our country. I have no respect for his beliefs or those that believe the same as he does.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  5. Bob

    I believe that if Jesus was to come down from heaven now, he would be walking with those sinners we are talking about. Even though the Bible dictates what a marriage is, God never condoned the slaughter of people's feelings. In fact, we are directed to love all people, even the gays and lesbians. They will have to atone for their sins just like I will have to atone for mine. All sin is equal and I personally have enough in my life to work on that I don't have time to point fingers at anyone else. I pray that all people will come to find God in their own way. I will rejoice to hear when any, and I mean any person comes to Jesus.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      Even though your tone and intentions are loving, which is rare in a lot of Christians, it's still demeaning to say that someone who is gay has to atone for their orientation.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Your bible dictates what marriage is/was for bronze-age folks who worshipped your version of a god. Your nomadic groups of shepherds did not invent marriage. It existed long before your cobbled together version of a god crawled onto the scene.

      I always wonder why fundiots, like Graham think their god has standing in our laws?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  6. tnfreethinker

    The US Const.itution always wins over their little black book of hate. They might pass it, but they can never defend it.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  7. Gregory

    All the more reason to vote for gay unions.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Primewonk

      This amendment prohibits civil unions or domestic partnerships as well.

      I wonder why fundiots (fundamentalist idiots) hate the constîtution?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Because they are fundamentally anti-American. They pretend to be patriots while fighting against the rights our grandparents fought and died to defend. Worse than any imagined communist conspiracy of 60 years ago.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  8. Gman10

    BY what I am reading in these posts, it appears that those in support of gay marriage are spewing out most of the hate-filled vitriol.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      Yeah, I guess you want us to SMILE while you're stabbing us in the back.

      Not only are you deluded about religion, you're deluded about human nature, as well.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      ProudAtheist....they can dish it out, but they can't take it. Typical of delusional folks.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Jodey

      You are confusing hate with anger.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Norman

      Gman-sorry dude-gays are sick of waiting for equality-we'll get it-taht is alreday decided, but we dont have to be nice and patient when bigost liek this old man spout we are less than otehrs-screw him-he needs to DIE OFF-NOW! seriously-weird religious belief brainwashed into teh mindless sheep is not somethign to respect -its silly-and definitely wont stop full equality

      May 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      Hate filled vitriol? As opposed to the pompous declarations of those purporting to speak for god?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  9. Rachel

    I have no problem with people believeing in God, in fact I am MORE Than okay with it. However, I am NOT okay with people who seem to believe that they know the word of God and He speaks to them directly and the bible (written by men) is clear, etc etc. I just can't understand why, more than anything else in the world, it is ANYONE'S business who marries who! My brother and his boyfriend have been together for ~10 years now, and they definitely and CLEARLY love one another. Why is that wrong, for two people to love each other?!?! Ugh... I get so worked up, I'm going to edge into incoherency...

    May 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • arun

      i have no problem with who marries who, as long as you keep your beliefs to you and not use the government to impose your beliefs on me and my family. yes it goes both ways.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      arun

      "i have no problem with who marries who, as long as you keep your beliefs to you and not use the government to impose your beliefs on me and my family. yes it goes both ways."

      does granting equal rights to all citizens mean they are imposing beliefs on others?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  10. Barbara

    People had better wise up. I agree with Dr. Billy Graham. So many wicked people in the world.

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

      youre just a silly old coot-you do know taht your bible orders women to marry their rapist, right?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Jodey

      Babs: You and Billy ARE wicked.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      Barbara: Do you feel ho-mo-se-xuality qualifies as "wicked"?

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

      Don't be so hard on yourself and Billy. I am sure that the both of you have many good qualities.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  11. Jodey

    If this country's anti-gay energy could be converted to positive, useful energy, we might be able to solve some of our real problems!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • arun

      what are our real problems? ever heard this - if money is lost nothing is lost, if health is lost something is lost and if the CHARACTER is lost, EVERYTHING is lost. our civilization has really lost its priorities if you think money is our real problem.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • sam stone

      arun: and you feel that allowing two loving adults to marry shows a character flaw?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  12. Steve

    "You can't run a country by a book of religion.
    Not by a lump, or a heap, or a smidgen.
    Of foolish rules of ancient date
    Designed to to make us all feel great,
    While we fold, spindle, and mutilate,
    Those unbelievers from the neighboring state."

    Frank Zappa

    Or to put it another way:

    If you try making laws based on religion
    you're no better than the Taliban.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Jodey

      Yep! It's amazing how America cannot see its own hipocrisy.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Bob Bichen

      Outstanding, Steve. I doubt anyone will say it better than Sheik Yerbouti.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  13. Renee

    My respect for the Graham's is completely gone. I send money to the Graham Program to help wherever needed..Now I will find somewhere else to donate..The Graham's were the ONLY religious leaders that I had any respect for. I'm crushed that they would get involved in this political problem..

    May 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  14. Pat

    Yeah, old man.........we need more backward thinkers who want to financially propagate their congregations like you.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  15. Kevin

    Don't get mad at the man for doing what he thinks is right. Everyone here has the ability to due the same. The only difference is that he has the resources do get his opinion out in the public more than any of you do. Just because someone disagrees with what you think or say doesn't make him a bigot or a hater. If you want someone to respect your views, you need to respect others.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      When someone wants to restrict another person's rights based on THEIR religion, he is a bigot. Not to mention, UN-AMERICAN

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

      "Just because someone disagrees with what you think or say doesn't make him a bigot or a hater. "

      He is supporting the blocking of civil rights that is prejudice and bigotry.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Kevin

      He is only defending something that has been apart of America since it was established. How does that make him a un-american? It is the other way around. For being a free thinker, you sure are narrow minded.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Norman

      kevin-youre completely uneduacted about teh US-typical religious sheep-America, when first founded, did nto allow blacks to marry-and, until about 50 years ago, blacks couldnt marry whites-and-most importantly-marriage in this coutnry was NEVER solely religious-it has always been regulated by teh state-it is a civil union

      May 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Kevin

      You said, "Don't get mad at the man for doing what he thinks is right."
      If what he thinks is clearly wrong, it is our duty to stand up and speak out against it. The proposed constitutional amendment is clearly wrong, therefor Graham is clearly wrong.

      You said, "Just because someone disagrees with what you think or say doesn't make him a bigot or a hater."
      True, nobody is a bigot for disagreeing with me. What makes him a bigot is the fact that he is endorsing a law that would force his religious views on everyone, including those that are not deluded. Forcing your religious views on someone else is the textbook definition of bigotry.

      There are plenty of christian denominations that don't promote hate and discrimination. Graham picked one that does. He is using his religion to justify the hate that he harbors towards gays.

      You said, "Just because someone disagrees with what you think or say doesn't make him a bigot or a hater."
      Nobody has the inherent right to have their views respected. They have the right to holds those views, but the validity of those views should be questioned.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      lin...thank you. I couldn't have said it better. I must not have because my post was moderated for some reason. hmmm

      May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  16. atheist

    Stop trying to turn this country into Iran.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • JM

      Seriously. How quickly we forget. Let's see: about 15-20 years ago, most people were against gay marriage. Now, when a preacher is against gay marriage because of the teachings of the Bible, everyone suddenly acts holier than thou.

      Lord, grant us serenity...

      Lord, have mercy.

      This world is nuts.

      America can pass whatever laws it wants. That doesn't mean that Billy Graham has to suddenly worship America over God.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      JM, 250 years ago, most of the people were FOR slavery. So what's your point? In the 60's it was against the law for a black to marry a white. SO WHAT'S YOUR POINT?

      Is your point that idiots abound and that slowly (but surely) we're weeding you defective mental retards OUT of society? Cuz if that's your point, you're right.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • atheist

      yes JM, 9/11 was the wakeup call that religion has no place in modern civil society.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  17. WhereIsPalin

    Work on your family first, Billy.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  18. Hugh

    Since Billy and many other 'preachers' seem to be more and more involved in politics (even pressuring their congregations to vote a certain way), their churches should have their tax exempt status removed. They have proven time and time again that they do not deserve exempt status due to their involvement in politics.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  19. truthknower

    To be right with God, we simply place our faith in that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and came back to life the third day after His crucifixion, making Jesus our Savior and Lord. Isn’t that great news? Great news always is best against the backdrop of bad news. The bad news is that we are sinners, and if not already in Christ, separated from Holy God. One sin would keep us out of heaven on our own, and we have all sinned. That’s the bad news. But don’t be sad, because here’s the great news: God realized our predicament and sent His Son Jesus Christ to help us out, which He did when He died for our sins, was buried, and came back to life the third day after His crucifixion. All it takes is faith, which is simply taking God at His word. In faith, we trust Christ as our Savior and Lord, Savior because He paid for our sins, and Lord because He’s equal to God. If Christ had any sin of His own, the grave would have kept Him, but since He was sinless, the grave couldn’t keep Him, and being sinless, He’s equal to God. All we have to do is have faith, and we make it to heaven. Faith in the following: To be right with God, we simply place our faith in that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and came back to life the third day after His crucifixion, making Jesus our Savior and Lord. Nothing is as important in this life as nailing down where we will be in the next.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      bla bla bla bla bla...

      And Ceres bargained with Hades to get back Persephone part of the year, and that's why we have spring summer fall and winter.

      One myth is as believable as any other myth. Yours is no more "real" than Zeus, Apollo, Odin & Thor. Oh, and don't forget the giant turtle that the entire Earth rests upon. If we have to respect YOUR crazy-assed beliefs, we have to respect THOSE beliefs as well.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      Awfully arrogant speaking for god, truthknower

      May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  20. the voice of reason

    Would you drink Kool-Aid from this man?

    Millions have! Religion is still a form of mental ilness.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:08 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.