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. Me,Too

    If a God didn't give a S%!T about 40 million jews during WWII, why would (s)he care about two men or two women in love? Just saying...

    May 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Me,Too

      You know, Billy is an atheist just like me. Only, I believe in one less god than him. As soon as he figures out why he doesn't bellieve in other peoples' god (Jewish, Islam, Etc) maybe he'll come to realize why I don't believe in his...

      May 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • mykoreanlife

      Excellent point.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Mitch Greene

      Good point.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  2. yahmez

    I propose this. How about religion stays out of politics, and I won't bash god believers for being fools.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • John

      The fool says in his heart there is no God...

      May 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • John K

      The fool says in his heart, talking snakes sure why not, were you there?

      May 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  3. crowded

    The shame it brings on my state that we would ever be set to even have this vote. The prejudices of the majority should never be allowed to outweigh the rights of the minority. It is disgusting. I'm a married guy for over twenty years and there is no way that anybody else's marriage has an impact on my marriage. Happy people make good neighbors. They aren't sinning any more or any less because they get a marriage license, so if God is unhappy about it, let Him handle it. In the meantime, give these people the same rights as we have and let's see what they do with it. One of the biggest complaints I hear about the gays has to do with them leading a rowdy lifestyle. Nothing settles a person like marriage, so people should be behind it.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • urouttolunch

      well said

      May 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  4. PJ

    I thought he was dead!!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  5. John K

    So I'm a little confused here. By limiting the rights of gay people what exactly are the bigots hoping to achieve? Do they really believe gay people will disappear if their rights are cut away? If they really truely wanted to protect marriage they'd be fighting to outlaw divorce. Telling people they can't be married isn't protecting marriage it's helping to reduce marriage.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • momoya

      Bigots aren't too good with logic.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • John

      Just a single battle involving those who care what God says and those who don't..

      May 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • John K

      A battle to strip rights from free citizens. You don't even have to bring your magica,l invisible, creature into the discussion.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  6. Rosedu

    Morality seems to be losing its value. That's why the world now is stricken by calamities and mass murders. For non-believers of Divine creation and Procreation, eternal condemnation awaits you all. Changes that lean towards sinfulness are done by individuals for their own comfort and convenience, and blindly supported by people for lack of familial foundation. I won't be surprised, later on, if bestialism iwould be openly practiced and embraced by society. Wait until Judgment Day!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • momoya

      I know, right!! And most christians these days don't even stone to death their children when they misbehave!! Don't they know to follow GOD'S LAW?!?!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      Take a deep breath and hold it until Jesus comes back. Any day now (for the last 2000+ years).

      May 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • John K

      No matter how screwed up you sound right now I support your right to believe whatever silly things you want to. Hey magical sky daddies, talking snakes, worldwide floods, anything you like. Perhaps you could see fit to allow the rest of us to choose a reality based belief system and not restrict our rights because you believe in magic. This way we all can get along.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Wholly Mary


      May 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Madtown

      eternal condemnation awaits you all
      But, isn't God love? Didn't Jesus preach love and acceptance? Eternal condemnation for what? And, how would you know anyway?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Huebert


      God is a fairy tale for adults.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • urouttolunch

      I continue to be amazed by references to bestiality in this context. I guess a lot of you religious people must harbor some pretty serious interest in ducks or whatever – why do you continue to refer to proliferation? Methinks thou dost protest too much.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  7. curiousdwk

    I'm not surprised. But I only respect him when he is preaching love to others – not when he tries to impose his belifs into our politics. He is not us. He should stay out of politics and stick to talking to his invisible god.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • drock

      It really is to bad the LGBT feels it has the right to force everyone to accept them – I'm all for civil unions, and or partnerships with the same government recognition, but to force the change of the definition of the word marriage should not be in the hands of these people. Everyone should be treated equally, and the LGBT is not treating the religious community the way that they cliam that they want to be treated. Change your fight to add a something to to change everyone else.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  8. Mitch Greene

    He's close to dying... next.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  9. suesark

    Go back to sleep.......

    May 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  10. Bob

    Shame on Billy's kids. Billy has not been seen in public in ages; his health failing. We are to beleive he's waited to 93yrs old before becoming political? Again, shame on those kids, trotting him out to gain fellowship (and all the $$ that comes with it).

    May 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  11. John K

    Maybe next we can vote on interacial marriages. Oh wait that one didn't pan out either.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  12. susanbellnc

    Billy Graham may not usually take a political stance in public, but do the research. He has been right there with many presidents, pushing his own agenda. He's not the "saint" so many make him out to be, and I don't think anyone is surprised that he is backing this amendment.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  13. joe

    Billy Graham is still alive?

    May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  14. Jesus Is Gay

    jesus was into washing other dudes' feet (what parts he washed in private and off the record we can only guess) and his entire entourage was male because he preferred the company of men; that's pretty gay.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • joe

      That's just a silly cheap shot and it's not exactly original on your part. More to the point, Jesus said NOTHING about gays, but he did condemn divorce. Why don't the righteous evangelicals ever call for a law outlawing divorce?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Everett Wallace

      NOPE JESUS is not gay. I love gettin it on with females, I likes keepin my thang wet and shiny and I'm not talkin about from showers either. Ya know what I'm sayinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • J.W

      Ive washed a man's feet but I am not gay.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • sftommy

      The "Secret Gospel of Mark" arguably from a letter of Clement of Alexandria:

      And they come into Bethany. And a certain woman whose brother had died was there. And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says to him, 'Son of David, have mercy on me.' But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan

      May 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  15. bro. dave

    The building stones of society has always been the family. It could only begin with male and female and can only continue properly with male and female. Those who oppose it should consider this: Before there was a nation, before there was a city, before there was a "church", there was a family. It started with man and woman and can only continue with male and female. Those who oppose this will end up like ancient Babylon, Greece, Assyria, Sodom and Gormorrah. Both time and nature has a way of dealing with those who dare challenge the natural laws of nature and the natural laws of humanity. May God have mercy on the USA.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Huebert

      Why can it only be a man and a woman?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Drew

      Hey bro... Grow up. You sound just as bad as the radical muslim clerics. Organized religion is all about exclusion. I wish people would grow up, think for themselves, and stop believing an ancient book literally

      May 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • worktolive

      Beautifully said-if only people would pay attention-which we know (according to the Bible) they will not.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Marg

      first off not everyone believes in your god or a god for that matter. second if you believe in god you would know god loves EVERYONE and we were made in his image, that means gay straight black white etc. it is not up to you so called christians to dictate how everyone in our diverse nation should live

      May 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • upstatenyman

      Dave don't worry. As long as there are guys like you that are probably willing to impregnate every female there is, the human race is safe. Last time I looked Greece was still on the map btw. It seems when countries (empires) want to invade and take over the world is when they fall by the wayside.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Huebert

      Come on bro. I'm waiting for an answer. 😉

      May 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • sftommy

      May God have mercy on those who would deny Him his power to love all his creation.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  16. Anil Maldeniya

    It is Sad to see such a great clean man being bashed this way. America, get it streight. You guys are in a moral decline and need to take care. All great nations in the past went down when their faith and Moral conduct declined. Hope America will correct it's mistakes, humble themselves and get back to being a God fearing nation. Hey, think again, when you guys placed your truct in God, you were booming, now ??? well take a good look around – ARM – Canada

    May 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Madtown

      back to being a God fearing nation
      Why fear God? We're told God is love. We're told God created us all and loves us all. What could possibly be to fear?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • c

      Sin is; was; and will be the judgement of the entire world. Please don't tell me there are no sinners in Canada. Denial is Pride-that's the big one. God Bless.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • worktolive

      You are so right. People need to read "Red Sky In The Morning".

      May 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • shawnmallory

      Coming from the booming nation of Canada! Please, have you been to Toronto, it's like a gay mecca!

      May 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  17. Sam Yaza

    every time this man says something about politics they say he doesn't normally get involved with politics

    face it the evangelicals are a political party their theocrats

    May 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  18. nitrous

    I thought he was dead?

    May 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Barnabas Collins

      He's stuffed, like Lenin. They drag him out and have a ventriloquist handled the details. Body motions are from the animatronics people at Disney who make Abe Lincoln so almost lifelike, kinda.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  19. dreamer96

    The world is only 6,000 years old..and Noah did not load any Dinosaurs onto the ARK...not even his pet T-Rex..Ralph...

    May 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Huebert

      Or Skippy the unicorn.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  20. Rich in Texas

    On the one hand these zealots condemn gay people for having multiple partners, and on the other they oppose efforts to affirm singular partenrs! What hypocrisy! What duplicity! what nonsense.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • J.W

      Lol I agree. I have made this point several times on here. You would think that conservatives would want to promote monogamous relationships. They must hope that gay people will just go away somehow.

      May 3, 2012 at 4:42 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.