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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. smb04d

    ...rolls my eyes...enough already! Who cares???? As a Christian, all you can do is say that God loves you no matter what...then leave it alone!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Really? So you really don't care that some people are still treated like second class citizens by this country's government or that religious and political leaders breed hatred towards some minorities in this country and throughout the world? It's very easy to look the other way and do nothing about it. Question is, are you enough of a decent human being to actually do something about your hate-filled religious leaders?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • metb

      How are they treated like second class citizens? because the law says they cant be married what happen to civil unions?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      metb, your side will continue to lose until Christians are spat upon in the streets and everyone is taught that your cult is nothing but a scam.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • smb04d

      DeeCee...I don't have any religious leaders! I don't go to church and I sure don't believe in organized religion! Maybe if you calm and read my post correctly, I wouldn't have to defend myself. And yes, I am a wonderful and decent human being and so is every gay couple that wants to get married. What I meant was, who cares if two people that love each other want to get married? Shouldn't gay couples enjoy the same rights as straight couples? Now take your Xanax and calm down.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • metb

      Well you may be right about the battle but we are right about the fact that it is a sin , We are instructed to love the sinner but hate the sin. That be
      ing said i wish you all the luck in the world with your life and hope it all works out.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • smb04d

      DeeCee...don't you ever believe that there is something "more" out in the universe that is bigger than us little people? That loves us unconditionally? Even if it isn't Christianity or Islam, wouldn't you want to live in a world were there was someone or something that loved all of us no matter what?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • metb

      Yes you are right smbo4d, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink....

      May 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      "How are they treated like second class citizens?"

      "because the law says they cant be married"

      there ya go. answered your own question

      May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • smb04d

      I don't quite care for mean people. Gay marriage may be a sin, but it's none of my business how two people feel about each other.

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

      "Well you may be right about the battle but we are right about the fact that it is a sin"

      You seem to have a real issue with confusing fact with opinion

      May 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • metb

      Oh Sam, your may get the laws changed is what i meant but unless you repent from the sin , or sins you will not be able to get in to heaven.... so the Bible says..

      May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • metb

      So if it don't matter to you if you go or not why all this arguing?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  2. DeeCee1000

    Someone should come up with a religion which requires that all Christian ministers and priests be put to death by stoning. . (kinda the way the Judeo-Christian bible instructs followers to kill certain people.)

    May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • DrewNYC

      Dude stop trolling. Everyone knows you're a Christian trying to make Atheists, Agnostics, and Gays look bad. If you aren't, then you're really working against your cause.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Heinz Doofenshmirtz

      It would be just like the rest of the religions. Killing to make your point.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      F** off lowlife. I'm glad your cult is dying off. Good riddance to all of you ignoramuses.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • smb04d

      DeeCee needs serious help...how can you bring about peace and love when all you spew is hatred and viciousness?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • John

      Your life is meaningless to you....that must suck.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  3. gaydude

    Just another example for not believing anything anyone affiliated with religion should be taken seriously!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • really

      but you should CERTAINLY TAKE GOD SERIOUSLY - the consequences of not doing so are ETERNAL

      May 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Talking Snake

      //but you should CERTAINLY TAKE GOD SERIOUSLY – the consequences of not doing so are ETERNAL//

      Which god?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      "but you should CERTAINLY TAKE GOD SERIOUSLY – the consequences of not doing so are ETERNAL"

      another opinion heard from

      May 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  4. Sashatree

    Does this closed minded bible-beating hypocrite hold an iota of relevance in 2012? With all the millions he stole from his "followers", you'd think he fix those nasty horse teeth of his. Just disappear, will you? You've done so much harm during your lifetime that it's time to depart.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Reagan80

      What a loving comment. I'm betting you're a Democrat.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • JOhn

      Sashatree...I promise you by the time you're 93 if you are lucky enough to still be lickin the biscuit your teeth won't be lookin so good either. Be careful who you choose for enemies....you may wind up with a snowballs chance.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • really

      YOU MOST CERTAINLY WILL FIND OUT THE HARM HE DID IN ETERNITY

      May 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Reagan80, I hope this Christian minister suffer a long painful death. You on the other hand can shove your bible all the way up your a**. F*** off lowlife.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Sashatree

      Sorry......you missed. 54 year old LIFE LONG REPUBLICAN !!! PRO CHOICE. PRO GAY RIGHTS. ANTI GUN. SOCIALLY LIBERAL. FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE. So much for labels, eh? I don't fit into your (or anyone else's) convenient little box. Why? BECAUSE I HAVE A BRAIN AND I'M NOT A SHEEP!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Sashatree

      @ John..... I don't believe in heaven or hell. When you die, you die.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      John, your book of ignorant fair tales has its proper place in the local landfill. I burned mine a long time ago.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • John

      Of all the things you might choose to accuse BG of...being a hypocrite is something he is not. I can't think of anyone who has held to their message and remained out of the peep shows over this guy.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  5. Mary Davis

    Thank-you Dr. Graham! God was right when he created marriage between a man and a woman. I was saved because
    you came to Fairlea, WV and preached a week long crusade back in 1967. I was eleven years old when I gave my
    heart to Christ. This is my most treasured memory. Because of your ministry...............I was saved! Although, I have
    rededicated my life to Christ again, I will never forget the first time Christ called me to come forward and give my life
    to him. Again.......................................................THANK YOU!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • no nothing

      I feel sorry for you, please don't breed

      May 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Sashatree

      Newsflash - GOD DIDN'T CREATE MARRIAGE! The bible is a collection of stories that were first recorded HUNDREDS of years after some guy called Jesus supposedly walked the earth....and has been re-written COUNTLESS times by people from different countries who edited it to serve their political aspirations and to control people. Taking the bible literally is simply.....STUPID. It is NOT written by god......it's folklore written by a bunch of politically minded folks to control the masses like sheep. Baaaaaaaaaaa

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Huebert

      What were you saved from?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • sam

      11 year olds are known for making such responsible decisions.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      Mary: Marriage pre-dates the bible

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

      We must not forgot who is satnah jayasuriya ?. But currently his form is not stand up to his previous records. I think this is not only regarding his form, reaction time, bat speed, etc. Sana is strong in heart, but he has to identify his current situation. I think sana should leave for 1 1/2 months. Go for basics, then come back and play 2 or 3 matches, I know he will find his touch again. Then he must play a brilliant, mind blowing two or three innings. Then he should retired. (0)

      July 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  6. Junior

    Hey Billy: No one is debating you over what the BIBLE may define marriage as. The debate is over what the LAW defines marriage as. Last I checked, the bible is not the book of law governing the United States.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • smb04d

      Thank you!!!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Reagan80

      Absolutely right, junior. But, you missed the point. He's not endorsing an amendment to the Bible.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • F YOU

      It is and it over rules the laws of America

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

      SAD TO SAY BUT UNFORTUNATLY YOU ARE CORRECT AND THATS EXACTLY WHY WE ARE IN THE SHAPE WE ARE IN

      May 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  7. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Some people think that it is still the 1950's...

    ...what a waste of resources...all that money going to a bigoted cause (oppressing a group of people), when in 10 years gay marriage will be legal everywhere in the US...

    ...take that money about to be used/wasted for a bigoted cause and feed and clothe some people...

    May 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  8. Jesus Cristo

    I am tiered of these kkkristians telling us how to live!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Faithfull

      It is not the Christians that tell us how to live..The BIBLE does...and we should all live by the words of GOD

      May 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      Faithful: There are many christian denominations. Which one represents "the word of god"?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      And, Faithful. if christians are telling us to live by the "word of god", they are indeed telling us how to live.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  9. DawnS

    The bill to ban gay marriage in North Carolina will more than likely pass because every simular bill has passed when it is put before the citizens of a state (even in California). POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • todd in DC

      You aren't supposed to vote on civil rights. Blacks can marry interracially not because people voted for it but because the courts said so.

      Slaves were not freed due to votes.

      Grow up

      May 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      It might pass, but it won't stand. It is unconst.itutional. No way to argue against that.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • red-eye

      Gay Marriage has never been a prob;en anywhere, in any country, in any state... only is a problem contained within the tiny bigoted minds of Hate-filled Christians who have nothing better to do than meddle in other americans pursuit of happiness ... you , my dear are a KKKristian KKKunt .... and we all hope you have a mass of people infringe on a right you currently enjoy, for no other purpose than that person wishing you having it denied to you ...

      May 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  10. DeeCee1000

    Someone should come up with a religion giving followers permission to stone to death all Christian ministers and priests. . .kinda the way the Judeo-Christian bible instructs followers to kill certain people.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • JM

      It's called Satanism.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      JM, you're an idiot.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • JM

      You are the one who wants to stone people to death.

      I support Billy Graham's right to his own belief. He's a preacher; it's Biblical.

      The whole point of the Bible is God's love for mankind and his desire for us to seek Him. Sin simply means missing the perfect mark of God's holiness as everyone who has ever lived does.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  11. MNTaxpayer

    The statement continued to say that Graham "never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage."

    That's just the point, YOU don't have to debate it. Let people define it for themselves and don't impose your definition on everyon else.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • J14

      Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

      Happy National Day of Prayer!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  12. AJR

    “I am treated as evil by people who claim that they are being oppressed because they are not allowed to force me to practice what they do.”

    – D. Dale Gulledge

    May 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  13. no nothing

    I can't believe people follow this guy. P.T. Barnum was right.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  14. Sometimes Correct

    I can't wait until this guy is out of this picture, permanently. The world will be better off without him.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • no nothing

      And his followers too

      May 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  15. nino

    If god really existed he can come down and tell us........come on, we're waiting. guess is busy appearing on toasts and corn flakes. We live in a world of fools!!!!!!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Heinz Doofenshmirtz

      The foolisness is that people seem to think that God or a "supreme being" and religion are the same. Religion is as man made as the space shuttle. Religion has nothing to do with God.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  16. Yakima

    Oh Yea...gay marriage will cause the world to implode ! All procreation will cease !!! . Faith requires suspension of reason and you can not argue with an unreasonable person. It is a no win position

    May 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Heinz Doofenshmirtz

      Very well said.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  17. atheist

    Oh this is just too perfect. The great Schism part II is in full swing. Even the great Billy Graham is soiled. Young people are leaving Christianity in droves, and the old holdouts are dying. Christianity is crumbling before our eyes.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • no nothing

      But not fast enough.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Heinz Doofenshmirtz

      It will never die completely. At least not until extra terrestrials land. The weak require an out. Religion gives it to them....for a fee of course.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  18. myweightinwords

    Which de.finition of marriage is biblical? Certainly not one man and one woman. Clearly, the bible's def.inition of marriage is one man and as many women as he can get from their fathers.

    Besides which, there is no such thing as "traditional marriage"....there are many traditions, and traditions change and grow as society does. If that weren't true, only the wealthy and t.itled would worry about getting married, and we'd sell off our daughters as soon as they've had their first period to someone who could give us money or prestige.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Katherine

      I like you!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  19. ElGiblet

    Lol... all the gay, atheist and gay athiests posting a bunch of hate. Figures... since CNN is slowly becoming the, 'Gay Atheist Channel'.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Lol... all the gay, atheist and gay athiests posting a bunch of hate."

      Wow are you blinded by the prejudice of Christians aren't you because you agree with them. The hate that is being shown by Christians trying to block gay civil rights is a far greater hate.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • sam

      And that would, of course, be your offical 12 yo opinion?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Huebert

      LOL, troll harder kid.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • ElGiblet

      Lol... 'gay civil rights'.

      You have the right to look fabulous!

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Heinz Doofenshmirtz

      I am not gay, and not atheist. Just don't believe in religion.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Davey

      I guess that's why you're checking out this website, Martha!!!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  20. Jodey

    People who do not support equal rights for all law-abiding Americans are anti-American.

    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.