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. Scott

    The trouble is that he is exercising his rights and trying to get everyone else to adopt his philosophy. That's 100% wrong.

    Also, it is NOT a choice, no more that you being, white, black, hispanic, dark haired, blue eyed or intellectually inferior is your fault. They only difference is that we aren't trying to force you to live by our set of morals, just trying to get you to let others do the same. You don't like it, fine. But according to the bible, NONE of you has any right to judge anyone else, nor is punishment your business. If God thinks it's a sin, then he will deal with it when the time comes, not you. Turn the other cheek, live and let live and leave people alone. It is not your job to be the morality police and when we do have a morality police in this country, then it will be time to either leave or revolt. Remember, all the times in history that religion has become involved in politics, things went badly. From nazi Germany to the inquisition to the salem with hunts to Capernicus and Socrates. Religion can be a wonderful thing but you people weild it like a weapona nd it was meant to bring people together not spur hatred.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Jeanette

      Very very well said!!!!!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Arent gays trying to get the entire American society to agree to their philosophy? What is the difference? There are different belief systems (including the gay belief system) and they are all trying to get everyone else to agree with their philosophy. Are you saying only gays should be allowed to do so? On what basis?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • MikeSpike

      Consider the times atheist governments killed millions: Russia, Chine Cambodia, North Korea. God/religion is not the problem. Leaders without morals is the problem. Religion does provide a moral compass.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  2. Atnext

    I agree Graham – I never would have thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage. Marriage is the union between a man and a woman, period. I'm not trying to take anything away from the LGBT community – if they want to be together, fine. That's why there is such a thing as "domestic partnership" – they want to file taxes jointly, go right ahead. They want to visit each other in hospitals, be my guest. Other than a marriage certificate, they can have all the same benefits that come with being a married couple, but please do not change what "marriage" is all about.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • sam

      "Other than a marriage certificate, they can have all the same benefits that come with being a married couple,"

      So it's all about the certificate? Do you even have any idea what you're talking about, at all?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Monica

      The NC amendment would ban domestic partnerships as well...read the entire article.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • atheist

      Actually, the amendment will ban domestic partnerships. But also, marriage has been redefined many times before.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jason

      How come everyone has to live under YOUR definition of marriage? You have no right to take the rights away from any other human being. You need to wake up and open up that close minded christian mentality that is rotting this country to the core.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tim

      It's interesting to me that so many people in support of this measure mention Domestic Partnerships as a reasonable alternative- Since this measure SPECIFICALLY INVALIDATES ALL DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS! It offers clear inequality to ANY unmarried or un-hetero couple, with NO options for compromise allowed for. It is Bigotry, pure and simple, and well designed bigotry at that.

      On the plus side, it seems our legislators CAN write simple laws- and the simplest laws allow for no loopholes!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • uselogic

      Where is this defintiion of marrriage found, as far as the legal ceremony is concerned? It's bigotry and discrimination to ban one group of people from enjoying the civil liberaties that everyone else has.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Jason, next you will say you have equal rights to live in my home with my family. LOL

      May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Tom

      Some folks seem not to understand that the things married people take for granted are not currently allowed without a marriage certificate. Want your partner to be with you in the hospital after a car crash? Be defined as family. (Domestic partnerships typically aren't counted.) Is your partner a foreigner and you'd like to live in the same country? Be defined as family. Domestic partnership aren't counted at all. Marriage is mostly about the voluntary acquisition of obligations. The important incidents of marriage are either not available to "domestic partners." I don't really care that much what it's called, but I do care that everyone have the same rights before the law, including rights to be together, to share property, and to care for each other.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  3. ca3b

    Rev Graham has been a wonderful inspiration to many, and has done a lot of good work over many years.
    But I believe he's now frail and ill, and is subject to the more radical right-wingnut views of his son.
    What a shame. I hope what he has accomplished as a more moderate preacher is not undone by his foolish comments
    this late in his life.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  4. sacrebleu2

    My bad, here I thought he was coming out.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  5. itsme

    i was talking about this (Fine, there are churches that recognize gay marriage) i in no way will be voting againt amendment 1 on may 8th and i fully support and believe that marriage is between man and women, not man and man or women and women, its an abomination to God

    May 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • sam

      Your inability to use anything resembling correct punctuation or spelling is an abomination. Oh, and so are your backwards views.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  6. JT

    I have great respect for Dr. Graham. He is, however, human just as we are. I believe he once said he would remain distant from politics, ever since he openly supported Richard Nixen for president, for which he later expressed regret. I'm sorry he has not done what he said he would.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  7. Joe or Providence

    Another person who lived too long. I really don't care about the issue because it doesn't affect me – but this guy has always been a huge t e r d!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  8. Snow

    so, out of curiosity.. I asked about christian stance on child born out of wedlock, and was told "The Bible says that no child born out of wedlock – and his or her next generations – can be part of the Church"

    couple of questions in that regard,
    1) is it moral? what did the child do wrong that the kid should be punished for simply be born? and what kind of moral high horse justification is there behind "excluding the next generations"?
    2) So, as long as the mother is wed to someone, having a baby with someone else will "save" the child from that punishment? How did that marriage change things for the child?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Bill C

      Nonsense. I doubt any believing Christian espoused such a view. You made it up.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • J.W

      I have never heard anyone say anything like that.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Snow

      Hmm.. maybe I heard it wrong or"interpreted" it wrong when I was shown this..

      Deuteronomy 23:2: "No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord."

      May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  9. docame

    Why don't these religious quacks STFU? I mean really. Shut up!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  10. YeahRight

    Because it is written in the Bible

    May 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • William Demuth


      You do know Jeebus was gay as a member of IN'SYNC don't you?

      No wife, no girlfreind, slept in caves with men, wore dresses and sandals and hung around with his mom till he was in his 30's

      If it quacks like a duck?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Because it is written in the Bible"

      Ahh poor baby your low self esteem issues are showing. Nowhere in the bible does your god condemn the saved loving relationship of a gay couple. The bible does condemn male prostitution,. idolatry and pagan worship using sex. But if you were the real me you would have known that. LOL!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • J.W

      William you clearly do not have any idea what you are talking about. It is NSYNC, with no I at the beginning.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  11. kr

    The author says, "...a rare move for a preacher who has typically avoided political fights." For a clergyman, this is a religious fight but which non-religious people think as simply political.

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

      please explain how this is a religious fight.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • sam

      You know how it's political? Because it's a matter of religious views trying to influence law. Does that clear it up?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  12. JustGreat

    One can only hope that a future generation will rename the Billy Graham Parkway the "Billy Graham was a Senile old D-bag Parkway".

    May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  13. Decima

    Sadly, he and his bigotry won't be dead soon enough.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  14. Voice of Reason

    @Everyone - What about the "church of gay beliefs" influencing the state policy? Is that ok? Everyone (including gays and christians) should have equal rights to lobby the govt until the govt decides to completely get out of business of legislating beliefs of one group over the other. Gays cannot pretend that their belief system has the only rights to influence state policy. that is intolerance.

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

      Gays are not asking to restrict Christians marriages. They are asking for inclusion, not exclusion for another group.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • sam

      It makes no more sense than it did the first time you posted it. What the hell is a 'gay belief system'?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Sam - everyone has beliefs and when a group of people follow the same beliefs it becomes a belief system. you know very well what gays believe so do not pretend that you do not know what "gay belief system" means.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Pan3

      Equal rights is the only "gay sysetm of beliefs" that I know.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  15. RickyT

    Billy Graham needs to die already.
    He is SOOO out of touch with reality and what it means to live in today's world. Old, ignorant, bigoted, and hateful. How dare he. What a wicked old man, disguising his hatred as 'God's word' if he were a true Christian he would love all God's children. Burn in hell Billy Graham. 93 is too old for you to even try to tell the rest of us, who will out-live you by at least 50 years, how to live.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Yes kill those who do not agree with you. So tolerant and loving you are.

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

      Wait! So bigoted, hateful jerks who are out of touch with reality should die? Well alrighty then, here's a partial wishlist for me:

      Mitt Romney
      Ann Romney
      Callista Ginrich and Newt the moot
      Hell, the whole republican party
      Let's not forget these unforgettable Dems:
      John Edwards
      Joe Lieberman
      Oh hell, the entire democratic party, too...

      May 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • RickyT

      I didn't say Kill, I just said he needs to die. Educate yourself too.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @ Ricky, it is same, you do not care how he dies, whether he is assassinated. Still hate!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  16. edpeters101

    Billy: When you are ready to become a part of the Human Race (at least as it exists in the US), let me know and I talk to you. till then please stop using your pie hole for anything other than stuffing your face, and not as a conduit for your non-functioning brain cells...

    May 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • BeverlyNC

      That is his son, Franklin. Billy is and old time Baptist in his 90s. I understand why he believes what he believes but love him anyway. I am against the marriage amendment but still love the good and faithful servant Billy Graham is. Unlike his hypocrite son, Billy has never played politics and has ministered to every President of both Parties and refused to mix religion and politics. He should have stayed out of this but I forgive him for his age and his mind are failing him.

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

      Why is it that liberal atheists cannot take the truth-the only thing you can do is insult Christianity. You just want to FORCE Christians to accept the gay agenda-regardless of the fact that it is against our beliefs and God's wholly Bible. You will fail-either here in this life or the afterlife-you will fail.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Libby

      Wholly Bible?!?!? GOOD ONE! The last time I checked, we were not a theocracy.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • sam

      @worktolive – keep being judgmental. See where it gets you in the afterlife. And it's 'holy', not 'wholly'. I can't even...what the hell is even going on in here today.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  17. Marv

    Wow .......at the hatred coming out here. Where is the tolerance on your end. Opps my bad..................

    May 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • momoya

      The tolerance? There's plenty of tolerance in the reasonable view that any two consenting adults can have whatever relationship they agree to have..

      The INTOLERANCE comes from those who want to restrict how OTHER PEOPLE LIVE.. The liberals don't want to tell people they can't marry; the anti-g.a.y people want to marry who they want, but not let others marry who they want; therefore, THEY are the ones being intolerant..

      Let me know next time you need some help figuring out something this simple.. I try to help where I can.

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

      I don't see any hatred here, only anger. You cannot deny a group of people equal rights and then whine when they fight back.

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

      Marv, views that don't agree with yours do not automatically equal hate. And a million of these...............looks ridiculous. Are you trying to indicate your pauses to think harder, or what?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  18. LB Colorado

    It is his right to back who and whatever he chooses.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • momoya

      Yep, and it's our right to mock him for being stupid.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • epaul08

      Your right to say something does not absolve you from criticism. The first amendment doesn't read "Your opinion shall be respected by all".

      May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  19. dave G

    Senility is nothing to be ashamed of, but neither should it be exploited. Ol' Billy's been listening to his crazy son again.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • BeverlyNC

      Franklin is and has always been a complete embarrassment to Billy. Franklin did drugs, dropped out of school, and did everything he could to humiliate his family. Suddenly he found Jesus when he figured out he could make a living pretending to be a Christian and live off his father's name. He is a total fraud, no Christian, and still an embarrassment to the wonderful legacy of his father.
      My grandfather and Billy Graham were good friends. Billy is a honorable man with deep true faith who was always non-judgmental, full of love for everyone, yet still was principled in his beliefs, He never mixed politics and religion, refused to endorse candidates for any office, but yet was always available to every President who sought his counsel. He is now a very old man, his mind is going, and him speaking up on this issue is not like the man I once knew. In the past he would have never done this. Franklin is probably behind it because he is very political, very corrupt, and and should thrown out of the Billy Graham Ministries before he destroys it.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  20. TAK

    Next week North Carolina also votes on an amendment requiring people to live in caves...

    May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • BeverlyNC

      If Republicans stay office, most people in NC will be forced with that option. Our Republican legislature has destroyed our state, our education system, and every program the people rely upon. They are corrupt, lying, hypocrites who I hope the People of NC will throw out of every local and state office come November so we can return to state of true values and humanity.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:27 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.