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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. *facepalm*

    While the struggle for marriage equality can be troubling and saddening, I'm at least heartened to know that, as with those that opposed interracial marriage before him, Billy Graham will be soon shown to have been on the wrong side of history.

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

      and he'll be dead soon so that's cool

      May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  2. LisaC

    Billy Graham is awesome and should be listened to. He is a wonderful man and is surely a blessing from God. I pray for the ones who are against this. According to the Bible that I have read since a child and the same one I am instilling in my children, we believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Billy Graham is correct to be concerned about the moral decline. Take a good look, our country is failing and our God is shaking his head at us. What we all need to do is pray, and if you do not believe, then I pray that God will put his hand on you and guide you.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      According to your bible, poly-cotton blends are evil. I hope you only dress your children in 100% cotton!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Talking Snake

      Oh dear... you've already reproduced?

      Please kindly go get fixed. For the sake of the gene pool.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • no nothing

      Your kidding, right?.... if not I feel sorry for you.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Revelation

      @LisaC But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. Timothy 2:12. So in other words, I command you to be silent. If you speak again, you are going against the will of God

      May 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Kevin O.

      Know your place, woman. No man permitted you you to speak at this time.

      Your bible says this is law.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Norman

      LisaC-wow-completely ignorant-your bible actually teaches one man, hundreds of women-have you read it? and women must marry their rapist per Deutornomoy-you agree with that? you are twisted and sick, lady!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "we believe that marriage is between one man and one woman"

      So you're raising your children to be ignorant. The experts around the world have shown that being gay is not a choice, it can't be voluntarily changed and it's not a mental illness. I hope one of your children turns out gay so they will grow up knowing you blocked their civil rights.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • LisaC

      I can chose to believe in what I want to believe and that is God. I choose to raise my children on christian beliefs. We do not judge, we pray. My children are raised that being gay is an abomination to God. We do not support that lifestyle and if one lives that lifestyle that is between them and God. God has never let us down, we are financially sound. We have not lost jobs during this economic hardship, gone hungry and we still have our home. The devil is around us everyday, including in our White House. Instead of arguing, I will pray for these people who do not believe in God, that they will one day find him and be assured of eternal life in heaven. Oh and please do not feel sorry for me or my family, we are just fine. I have two healthy boys, and I love them dearly. All I can say is I am dearly blessed!!! Hope you can say the same.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Talking Snake

      The only logical way for you to help us is to not reproduce again, Lisa... ever. In fact, go get fixed. Unfortunately, prayer is simply futile in this scenario.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Xtian fundie logic

      Lisa – how can you raise your children as xtian when you obviously don't have a clue what the bible says ... or are you also making sure that your children know that if they disrespect you, you'll be stoning them to death.

      "I believe what I want" -exactly, you cherry pick the bible to support a preconceived world view. People did the exact same thing when prohibiting gay marriage, excusing slavery, etc.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  3. Margaret T.

    Hey goess what, Mr. Graham? Not all of us follow your god to whom monthly payments of only $19.95 save your soul. So GTFO of my personal life and my venture towards marital equality.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  4. Chiniquy

    I agree with Rev Graham, but disagree with this: "The amendment would effectively ban civil unions and domestic partnerships, too."

    This part of the bill should, and must be challenged legally.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • no nothing

      you are a wonderful human being...........until you open your mouth

      May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Talking Snake

      You agree with Billy Bob that we should base our modern laws on some old book that claims human suffering is the direct result of a rib woman eating a magic apple under coercion of a talking snake about 6000 years ago in the Middle East?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  5. arun

    Having embraced multi-culturalism and plurality of faiths, the govt cannot be run based on one set of beliefs, whether it is of the Christians and of the Gays. the only thing govt can do is stop legislating on behalf of the Christians or the Gays. in such a scenario, only the libertarian argument holds - govt out of my private beliefs and morals.

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

      wrong dumdum-gays arent imposign beliefs-they are adviocating equality under the law which is what our govt is all about

      May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  6. joejeffrey

    What could be a clearer example of forcing everyone to live by the tenets of one religion – and a narrow, rigid interpretation of one, at that. If some church wants to forbid gay marriages in their sect, their business.But this is America, where one group doesn't get to force their beliefs on everyone else.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  7. ?

    For the sake of semantics, marriage is a union between a man and woman.

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

      Says who?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  8. JohnReedjr

    If we were to study marriage throughout history we would find that it bears little resemblance to the romanticized notion being put forth. Should we not work on reducing divorce rather than work on preventing loving people from marrying. I think Billy G has forgotten to love his fellow man as himself. Christian love, the love that knows no bounds, is blind and non-judgmental, not selective. I wonder what the punishment is for not abiding by Christ's greatest commandment.

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

      Well said.

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

      So, are you saying that it is impossible to love someone and yet tell them that you think that what they are doing is wrong?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  9. effelbee

    How exactly does 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 textbook definition! How silly.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  10. Bob Bichen

    This is actually a really easy argument to win with these types. First ask "who wrote the Bible?". You get some version of jibberish, but the end result is "man". They will try to say that the authors were "inspired by God who talked through them" but there is no proof of this. You then remind them of all the different versions of the Bible and similar books (Torah, Koran, Book of Mormon, etc), also written by man/men. Then you remind them that man thought the word was flat until just over 500 years ago, a full 1500 years AFTER the Bible was written. Finally, you drive it home by crushing the "lifestyle choice" arguments by showing how much evidence there is of this particular type of situation (same gender relations) in the animal kingdom. All they are left with is their own illogical prejudices and hatred. Game, set, match. Signed, a generally GOP voting male, middle-aged voter who has lost faith in his party, and who is as straight as they come.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  11. jimtanker

    Damn!! I just about carped my pants when that pic of that nasty old dude came up on my screen. Please change the picture CNN.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  12. martog

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Doug

      Martog, as a Christian, I believe you to be 100% correct except for one thing. You need to start your comment with "Top Ten Signs You are A Christian Dogmatic." The dogmatics (nutjobs) believe that the bible is factual as it is written. I am a Christian, but believe the bible to be full of allegorys.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Chiniquy

      All religions believe in the same G-D. There is only One G-D. However, all of them visualize and worship G-D in different ways.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  13. johnmenacherjr@rocketmail.com

    I forgive him he just cant help himself.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  14. DRAG QUEEN

    THIS OLD FOOL NEEDS TO JUST SHUT UP AND GO LAY DOWN SOMEWHERE. I AM SO SICK OF ALL HIS RELIGIOUS BS.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  15. Hairball

    This is the same guy who pushed the Southern Strategy on Richard Nixon. No surprise that the old man continues to be a bigot waving a Bible.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  16. Doug

    So a preacher, who sides with a political party that wants no government control on individual freedoms, wants to pass a law based on an archaic book that has never been proven to be factual and can not be proven to be factual, that basically says "You are different than me, and therefore unworthy of equal treatment. I am completely right and you are completely wrong, so the government has the right to limit your freedom that I enjoy." Did I capture that correctly?

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

      You captured that 100% correctly Doug.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jodey

      Sadly, yes, you read it correctly. The hipocrisy is especially horrifying coming from a religious leader who many impressionable Americans listen to.

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

      Exactly Doug, like Howard said 100% correct. He talks about the Bible's definition of marriage as one man and one woman, I guess he forgets the wives the Old Testament (more than half of the Bible) says Kings like David and Solomon had. So which definition of marriage is it in the Bible, New Testament. I'm gathering he is taking the definition which was implied but never explicitly stated...whatever, I think his kids have drugged him and taken his name and applied it to these things. Since when do we live in a theocracy?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Cyphonix

    The Bible has nothing to do with governments. Is like having the Quran dictate our laws and stoning gays to and women death is righteous. RELIGIOUS PRINCIPALS NEED NOT BE PART OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENTAL LAWS THAT SEPARATE OR DISTINGUISHES ALL PEOPLE AS NOT EQUAL!!! And if you want to get religious with me, here it is, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" Jesus clearly shows the summary of the relationship between Christianity and secular authority. So obey Jesus you satanic Christians!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  18. Called is Something Else

    Keep Marriage as the bond between a man and a woman as it has been ALWAYS been!

    Create a different "RIGHT" for gay men and call it Sodomarriage.

    Create a different "RIGHT" for gay women and call is Nopenismarrige.

    No we all have rights!!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • StatingtheObvious

      To claim that marriage has never changed in accordance with progression of civil liberties is ridiculous. Women were little more than property used in contract negotiations for centuries where marriage is concerned. Slaves didn't have legally recognized marriage...and yet we got rid of that notion because we determined slavery was wrong-yet somehow justified by bible thumpers at the time. Your myopic view of history is laughable.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Night Of The Living Dead Christians

      ZOMBIES FEAST UPON BRAINS ! ! !

      You are safe.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jerry

      Nah, relax, gay marriages will happen and will be recognized – JUST to annoy you!!

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

      Grahams opinion and backing = Wrong

      Gay Agenda opinion and backing = Right

      Hypocrites

      May 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Leo

      Why can't both have freedoms to state their opinion? I thought you all wanted freedom?

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

      Why? Why are you so perturbed if two guys, or two women, want to get married? What's it got to do with you? You're still living according to your beliefs, you still have the same relationship, it's still called the same thing. Yes, others you don't approve of will also have that relationship, but you are free to think of them any way you want. Think of them as "not really married" or "not married according to God's law," whatever you want. But where do you get the right to force people follow your Bible?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Talking Snake

      //Grahams opinion and backing = Wrong

      Gay Agenda opinion and backing = Right

      Hypocrites//

      Gay agenda: Gays are treated as equal citizens.

      Graham's opinion: Gays will burn in hell for eternity and God will hate our country if we treat them equally.

      This situation is akin to pre-Civil Rights era southern United States. For instance, do you agree with the following statement?

      Marriage is between one white man and one white woman.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  19. Michael

    God save us from religous bigots .

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

      You will have to answer to God, Bill...

      May 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Danno

      Prove it, Grace. Otherwise, shut up.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  20. ZoeyJ

    I challenge Mr. Graham to wage war and fight against the sin of "GREED"............
    The sin of GREED is one that is rarely discussed by religious leaders, religious leaders seem to keep to the basic guidelines in providing FEAR, HATE and JUDGEMENT.
    I am sure God has His own thoughts about how organized religion has interpreted and imposed the word of God on others.

    GOOD LUCK BILLY........we all have limited time on earth.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:16 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.