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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. MashaSobaka

    How do you know you're a bigot? Billy Graham agrees with what you're saying.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  2. Pittsburgh

    If someone doesn't like gay marriage, don't get gay married! Yes, it's that simple.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • MidwestBoy72

      Exactly.

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

      Sadly, some people live to make sure others do not get equal rights. I find that anti-American.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • F YOU

      The bible says marriage is sacred and must be protected. So allowing gays to be married is against God and will not be tolerated.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  3. me

    Just another fool who claims to know God's word... most people can't remember correctly what was said to them a week ago, yet people eat up the drivel spoken be false profits who claim to know exactly what God said millions of years ago... and let's not forget, these are the same group of people who often deny scientific facts... it amazes me what people will accept as fact, yet ignore the fact of two people who love each other when they both have the same type of genitals...

    May 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  4. BJJSchecter

    Billy Graham is going to be in for a big surprise when he lands in hell.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • JM

      Right...for upholding what the Bible teaches....in the face of extreme opposition and for not going along with everyone else.

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

      Yes, for being such a hateful, spiteful, and greedy little man.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Chris R

      Upholding what the Bible teaches? I don't know what is in your Bible but in mine some guy keeps talking about loving your neighbor as yourself. He also preaches toleration, respect, not to judge people, and to care for those in need of care. Maybe we have different Bibles?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • F YOU

      He is preaching exactly as the bibles says, You will be in Hell, but not him.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Night Of The Living Dead Christians

      The sad part is that when they die and just stop, religious people will never know that it was all for nothing, that everything they did in God's name was pointless and a waste of time. Because death is exactly what it looks like – you just stop.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • F YOU

      Nope the ones who dont beleive will be screaming in agony and away from Gods love. Tormented for their disbelief and evil lifestyles. God is real, and if you cant realize that then your too dumb to be one of Gods children anyway.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  5. terry

    I have long respected Billy Graham as a of the few who stayed out of politics for the most part and didn't beg for money, but my respect has now gone. Why on earth would someone oppose marriage between two people who love one another and just want the same rights as everyone else. How does it possibly affect anyone else's rights? How does it possibly affect anyone else's marriage?

    May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • F YOU

      I respect him more now then ever, gay lifestyle is condemed in the bible and he is a man of God, did you expect any different reaction.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • terry

      Reply to the screen name "F You" How would you possibly know anything about Christianty with a screen name like that?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Has anyone noticed that most of the people for Gay marriage have voiced their opinions in crude and vulgar ways. Those who are against gay marriage seem to be staying level headed. Hmmm........

    May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • atheist

      no, i haven't noticed that actually.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      Once more – since you're OBVIOUSLY stupid:

      I'm not going to smile and be happy while you're sticking a knife in my back. The Founding Fathers didn't with King George – and what's good enough for them is good enough for me.

      ESPECIALLY when it was THEY who thought up separation of Church and State, something you traitorous Christians don't believe in.

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

      I haven't noticed that because it's not accurate.

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

      You missed the article where a preacher was encouraging his congregation to beat gay children. Very level headed indeed.

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

      Even if that is true, it's simply because we're frustrated with the unbridled ignorance of those who believe that some love doesn't meet their twisted views... did you ever notice that those who blindly follow false profits will do just about anything it takes to further their agenda... even when it means drinking kool-aid, or flying planes into buildings?

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

      Yes because denying consenting adults their civil rights is oh so very level headed. Bigotry is bigotry no matter how you try to dress the pig up.

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

      Kevin, I do not notice what you mention. I do notice that those that strongly oppose gay marriage spend a lot of time quoting the bible and there lies the big problem. To deal with a real question and stand behind fiction, just does not make any sense.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Ha! Kevin don't be silly. Just take your book of idiotic f**d up fairy tales and shove it up your a**.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • epaul08

      Exactly – same thing was happening with all those black people back in the sixties. They just couldn't remain level headed despite how many of them we lynched.

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

      Kevin, NO I have not noticed that.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • MidwestBoy72

      From my personal experience, it's the other way around.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • F YOU

      I noticed that too, I alsio realize that the Athiest religion is growing very large.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Bill

    THEN BAN DIVORSE!!!!!!!!! Hypocrits!!!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  8. bama27

    For the haters..you are all spewing as much – or more – hatred than Billy Graham's statements. You want him to respect your beliefs, but you won't respect his. Shame on you all!!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • momoya

      I respect Graham's beliefs.. I don't think he should be forced to only marry certain people; he can marry whomever he wants to marry.. He's the one trying to restrict what other people do; nobody's trying to restrict his marriage options.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • epaul08

      Exactly! Respect my right to hate you and cause you harm because you're different than me.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Danno

      My respect for you beliefs end when you infringe on the rights of others. Namely by legally creating a set of second-class citizens.

      Gays don't infringe on the right of Christians to live the way they want. Stop messing with the lives of people you don't even know, you psychopaths.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      2+2 does NOT equal 5, and I do NOT have to "respect" those idiots who claim otherwise – no matter HOW MANY delusional idiots you have claiming otherwise.

      Not ONLY do I not respect you, I hold you and your stupidity in contempt, and will take every chance possible to point out just how incredibly stupid you are.

      2 + 2 ≠ 5

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

      Um... try to get this through your head... when Billy Graham goes from personally feeling that gay marriage is wrong, to supporting a bill to ban it... then he is no longer simply expressing his belief, he is denying others of theirs...

      May 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • BRC

      @bama27,
      Noone is asking him to respect other people's beliefs, that actually isn't required (some beliefs are foolish and should expect to be mocked). What people are asking, and should soon be demanding, is that he recognize the right for people to live their lives their own way, and stop trying to pass legislature to control them (that is bigotry).

      Simple example. If I believe all red-heads are soul-less gingers, and run around yelling "gingers have no souls, they can't see their reflections, the gods will punish us if we treat them as if they have souls" (I don't believe that, but I'm claiming that unprovable beings will be angry at how we treat people who had no control over how they were born, it's called a parallel) I'm clearly nuts, but those are my beliefs. You don't have to like or respect them, but I have the right to say them, just like Graham does in his foolishness about same gender marriage. NOW, if I try to pass legisture that red-heads can't get married, because the union will produce children with no souls, or half a soul, I'm being a a bigot, and it is the duty of people who actually believe in equality to step up, speak out against me, and take the legal action necessary to stop me. See the difference?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      bama: billy wants to deny people their civil rights. how is that not hateful?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  9. Danno

    The idea of marriage between man and woman as a union of love is not the only definition of marriage. Even to this day, we have arranged marriages, people with multiple wives, etc.... It is Christians who decided to hijack marriage for their own.

    You cannot legislate in the name of God unless God can appear on the witness stand and testify. And he won't. So it's all BS. Mind your own business, you busy-body Christian hypocrites.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  10. Bill

    there's nothing else left to ban, so they want to ban love.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  11. Xtian fundie logic

    Love your neighbor as you love yourself ... so long as your neighbor believes the same way you do, looks like you, and acts like you...

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

      Well put.

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

      You are correct and if you would like to put a name to those people you would refer to them as "Republican"

      May 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  12. Brian Gardner

    Forgive him Father, for he knows not what he does.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  13. dav

    silly old fool

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

    Isn't Billy Graham near incapacitated? I think this is a forgery by his son Franklin.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  15. JC

    M0R0NGELICAL christianity is a CRIME against Humanity

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

    Silly, silly old man. He has no business going after civil unions or domestic partnerships. He has no business defining what makes up "family". Church and state are supposed to be SEPARATE. Welcome to the Republic of Gilead. (taken from Margaret Atwood's novel "the Handmaid's Tale.....Gilead being the theocracy of fundy christians who took over the United States)

    May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  17. t.sarcastic

    Someone needs to call Adult Protective Services, this poor old guy is being used.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  18. Snow

    Out of curiosity, what is the official christian stance on a child born out of wedlock?

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

      The Bible says that no child born out of wedlock - and his or her next generations - can be part of the Church.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  19. Kleb

    Blah blah blah.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  20. Jodey

    As a patriotic American, I support equal rights for ALL Americans, not just the ones who are like me.

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

      Unfortunately, in most southern states, popular opinion would probably define you as an evil Socialist for saying that. Ironic, isn't it.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Carl

      LOL! Does that include criminals who have been put in jail? They have less rights than you do.... Sorry to burst your bubble but not everyone has equal rights..... never will.... and those who practice a life style that by definition will cause procreation to cease are fatalistic at best.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Thinks2010

      I wish every American had your understanding of what this country is all about. Thanks for a great post that gets right to the heart of the matter.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Chris R

      Carl, lets be reasonable – the people who are gay are never going to have children anyway. So letting them marry isn't going to affect the birth rate. Having children cannot be the basis of marriage anyway. We allow infertile people to marry don't we? We allow people who don't want to have children to marry, don't we? In fact a friend of mine who will never have children just got married. I don't recall any controversy because of that. So that's a specious argument against gay marriage. What else do you have?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:40 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.