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. Damian

    Ugh isn't Billy Grahma dead yet? I thought he died.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Hater passing off as a tolerant person. Exposed!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Molly

      No.... he really is dead and just proped up by his equally crazy son.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Luch

      To Voice of Reason: no he/she is not a hater he/she is just another open minded tolerant liberal secularist..they love everybody as long as you hold to their views

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

    He has always been a handsome preacher with a very small mind!!!! Not surprised!!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  3. MiketheElectrician

    Jesus sure spent a lot of time alone with 12 men. Hmmm, sounds a bit gay to me.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      And they all wore dresses!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  4. I didn't want to do this. I wanted to be . . .

    Billy Graham is about 314 years old now, so I deeply suspect that what the press actually heard was "Ban gay marriage, Ban gay marriage, SQUAK!" and then a parrot walked out from behind him.

    Norwegian Blue. Lovely Plummage.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  5. Chutzpah

    Is he still around?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Angelique Bouchard

      Yes, Billy and Barnabas Collins still roam the Earth, for the same reason.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  6. Ramion

    Whatever... just BS

    May 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  7. Anomic Office Drone

    The rules of religion have no place in the laws of our government. Laws should serve the common good, and shouldn't be used as tools to marginalize a benign minority group. Overlap between the religious and the secular can be okay. Obviously, murder and theft are universally recognized as harmful to society, but things like bans on gay marriage, which neither solve a problem or increase quality of life, have no place in our laws.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  8. caniac

    This is ridiculous. Isn't this why people came to America...to escape religious prosocution? If it is freedom of religion, then you can't start the argument by saying..."Well in the Bible..."

    May 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  9. Asturiano

    This pathetic old fool needs to go meet his God.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • crazypete

      Oh, he'll meet him. And when God disagrees with him on Gay marriage Billy is gonna bring the beat down on the almighty. There'll bee a new Heavenly Sheriff in town! All hail Billy Graham!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  10. Don

    I have always repected Mr. Graham as a reasonable person but this endorsement of his has made me lose all respect for him. He truly is showing his true colors and does not represent the teaching of Christ.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      I'm right there with you. Honestly, I find it shocking that Billy Graham would endorse such a thing.

      There is nothing Christ-like about forcing people to live as second class citizens.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  11. bizziel

    I bet ole Billy boy used to drop hot steamy piles of love on pat Robertsons chest, and smear it all over with his godly mouth.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  12. Voice of Reason

    CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL – GOVT OUT OF BUSINESS OF LEGISLATING MARRIAGE ENTIRELY – END OF DISPUTE. Your having equal rights does not mean that govt forces me and my family to agree with everything you believe. That kind of desperate need for acceptance is nothing but intolerance being passed around in name of equal rights. What if I feel I do not have equal rights until everyone agrees with my beliefs entirely. What if Muslims want to be governed by Sharia or say their beliefs are discriminated. Should we allow muslims to legislate sharia by lobbying the govt? Where would this lead us to? The only option is that govt stays out legislating beliefs of one group for the rest of us – whether the group is christian, gays, hindus, muslims or jews. that is true equality and true tolerance. CIVIL UNIONS FOR ALL as far as govt is concerned. Marriage should be left to private citizen, his family and faith. Gays should also be be able to get married at churches where they can and should be able to call it marriage. FAIR AND EQUAL.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Voice of Reason

      The religious don't own the term "marriage". They can't have it.

      Considering that there are millions of marriages out there already that enjoy legal rights and responsibilities, it would be impractical to change the definition of the term. Also, millions of people who are currently married would suddenly get stuck with a religious term.

      The only fair way to do this would be to coin a new term for religious unions, like "religious union", and open up marriage to any two consenting adults. Denominations can do conversions for people who are currently married but wish to only have a religious union. Once that is done, they can file for divorce.

      Of course, no rights will be granted with religious unions.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      LinCA is correct! Believers are free to define their cult's mystical ceremonies any way they like. They are not free to impose their bullsh!t on others. Yes, they have the right to try and I hope they do as every time religion "goes publc" it is seen to be the heap of sh!t it is. Go ahead believers, make yourself a target to be ridiculed!!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  13. mdn

    The Bible allows for polygamy as in the case of Abraham, Jacob, etc.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Jason

      King solomon had " seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines;" 1 Kings Chapter 11

      May 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  14. JJ

    Another hate monger speaks, nothing to see here, move along.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      JJ: How was this speaking hate?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      JJ: On second thought, I may have misinterpreted your post. If so, my bad

      May 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  15. rjatlanta

    "Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.”
    The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
    For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

    When religious people deal with divorce, then maybe they can talk about morality to the rest of us. Hypocrites!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  16. Matt

    I find it ironic that people say that marriage should be between a man and a woman. If we truly believe that then how do you explain the divorce rate being so high?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  17. Lucky18

    Wonder what Jesus would have said about all this? I, for one, would think, that these GOd fearing people would be cast out!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • bob

      Just as he casted out the pharises as Hypocrites.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  18. Kwesoe

    I thought Billy died years ago? Or was it Oral Roberts or Jerry Fawell or Pat Robertson? Oh well, it's my dementia.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  19. JT

    Billy Graham is one of the most evil persons in America. He certainly didn't hold back on his hate of Jews in the 1960s and he contines to this day to hate all groups who do not share his twisted views.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  20. sacrebleu2

    Old snaggle-tooth needs a diaper change.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Damian

      sacrebleu2 your comment is hilarious! good one!!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:52 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.