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.
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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.
The sheer amount of malice, hate, and ugliness directed towards Billy Graham for this is staggering. I guess the vaunted liberal value of tolerance only applies to people who already agree with you, huh? Anyway, Graham was a Democrat until the extreme left-wingers took over the party. Read about him sometime, more than the online propaganda – he was a major leader in the Civil Rights movement and fighting segregation.
thank you to someone who actuallly knows history
And Fred Phelps was a civil rights lawyer. But, again, this just shows that even good deeds don't justify later bigotry.
He obviously changed his tune an about 180 degrees, because now he is in favor of bigotry and suppression of adults' rights. Any work he did 50+ years go is being absolutely undermined by the bigotry he is publicly in favor of today. THIS is what he will be remembered for – not what he supposedly did 50 years ago.
The sheer amount of malice, hate, and ugliness directed BY Billy Graham towards other people in this is staggering.
That has no bearing on him being a world class hypocrite.
Maybe, but he is wrong on this issue.
He is a man of courage and principle for continuing to faithfully preach the Word of God in a society increasingly hostile to it. And these comments rather prove my points...
The Civil Rights movement had many people from both sides of the political party. It wasn't just Republicans vs. Democrats at the time.
TrueReality it is NOT the word of God. Jesus Christ never said anything about hom ose xual ity.
ReadJC, the New Testament does talk about it, though, including in Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, and 1 Timothy 1. "If you believe what you like in the Bible, and reject what you don't like, then you do not believe the Bible at all; you only believe yourself." – Augustine
All you people dissing Billy Graham are just a bunch of misguided sheep. He is right, and you'll find that out when God gives you your final evaluation.
Christ approved of g-men but not of hat red.
If there is a God, he would surely not accept the crop of Christians (like yourself) that exist on Earth at the moment. To many people like you have to much vile hatred. Let God deal with it, not yourselves.
when "god" gives you your final evaluation, you'll fail it like you failed the Minnesota driver's test- 3 times. moron.
the problem is, people don't want to hear when they are doing something wrong. people want to 'live and let live' and not to have anyone judge them or show some sort of moral obligation to a higher power.
no one wants to believe that there is someone out there who is actually going to judge their behavior and ask them to be held accountable for their actions..
iIGNORANCE IS BLISS
Scoobster is there not a saying in the Bible that says "Let God judge thy man; or lest the man judging be judged by God himself."?
If ignorance is bliss, what is Christian hypocrisy?
can someone explain why gay marriage is bad without invoking god or religion? anyone? anyone? bueller?
that's what i thought.
@ meh chick: can anyone define life (much less marriage) w/o making a metaphysical appeal?
you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
yo russ, it's called social science. you don't have to believe in god to understand really basic concepts like marriage and life. nice way of not answering my question, though.
@ meh chick: it's biology page 1. even science (biology = "the study of life") admits it cannot define life itself – the very thing biology is studying as its basis.
science is by definition a subjective discipline of observation. attempting to make moral declarations upon that basis misunderstands science by definition.
Marriage is a right, not a control mechanism by the religious nuts running about in America. Jesus Christ and God never created Marriage. They may have named it, but Marriage has been around for centuries. Long before any group called Christianity or Judaism was formed.
The Romans had the right idea.
Caligula or Constantine?
Oh my...tough call...I'd say Nero. He used Christians as torches. the "light of the world" hahaha.
@ Sarah Chang: and notably, on Nero's watch, Christianity grew astronomically within the Roman Empire.
@Russ- true- but that just made it more fun, didn't it?
Its not their fault they're gay. Its an illness and they should have the rights as others because having a disability shouldn't mean they should be punished.
If you believe they are 'born this way', then they SHOULD have equal rights because its not their fault they are born with an illness such as gayness.
You seem to born with an illness....ignorance.
Being a h0mos-xual is not an illness. GET AN EDUCATION.
Maybe so but I shouldn't have my rights taken away becasue of it! I am equal even if I'm special!!!!
what is 'gayness".
They are not sick they are the way god made them.
Being born gay is no different than being born with Down syndrome. It's a genetic defect, an abnormality. It's not a reason to hate someone. If you disagree, than you're saying it's a choice people make, and if that's the case then the whole situation changes.
I guess Billy's God teaches unconditional love and acceptance of all people NOT. I bet he also want to bring back slavery; or have woman barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Billy i have a few words for you " live and let live, believe and let believe, talk to whatever God you wish, but do not tell me which one I must talk to or how or who i can sleep with."
Yes, its better not to have any moral compass.
@ bigone: how'd that philosophy work for neville chamberlain in munich?
Conservatives – Don't let government interfer with our lives
Conservatives – Make government interfer with lives we don't like
I hate conservatives, they are the worst people on the planet.
You describe fake conservatives (aka. the Religious Reich). What about real conservatives?
Alright Billy, shows you are never to old to speak the truth. Wish we had more like you
go martyr yourself...
Billy has proved that you are never too old to be a HYPOCRITE.
what makes you think that this is the truth?
he is living in the dark ages - he is older then dirt.
Maybe if those in NC are so very concerned about protecting marriage and that marriage and home is the key to stopping to moral decay of the country, maybe the admendment should say that anyone who wants to get married needs to guarantee they will produce a family with natural offspring and never get divorced. That would keep marriage sacred; but then again, no one would vote for that – at least not enough to make it law. See when the law is against you you don't want it. Do the right thing NC; vote for equality – for everyone.
dam n right. those redn ecks need to own up to the 1,000s of undocu mented ince stuous ba s trds they give birth to every year, or at least round 'em up and train 'em to play "dueling banjos" from Del iverance.
"Squ eal like a pig! Squeal!"
Why is this dusty old pedophile still alive? If you took half the money these people of god have spent hating gays, you could feed millions. You could clothe the world's poor. You could educate the nation for free. It is astonishing the value Christians put on hate. It's disgusting.
When Billy passes , it will be the end of an era ......
To the oppressed I say , the times they are achangin!
The phrase you're looking for is "go die, Billy, you old hatemonger."
Robert, make sure to flush after you "go billy." You're a big boy, yes, a BIG BOY.
It is a shame (political correctness) has robbed us of our will to speak honestly. yeah billy
i bet a can make good old Billy scream like a pig
I wonder how many jobs this will create? How many kids could have been fed for the money these zealots, wingnuts and closet cases have spent on hating gays?
Might know Billy Graham would be on the wrong side of this issue. doesn't he know God is Love and that if God condemned anyone, it would be more likely to be for who you hate than who you love? and when did Jesus ever condemn gays or advocate for denying anyone their basic human rights??? marriage is a civil contract that should be open to any two adults over the age of consent and no closer related by blood than 3rd cousin. period! 'holy matrimony' on the other hand, should be protected and no church should be forced to marry someone they disapprove of. of course, no church that really understands what God is and what Jesus taught would refuse to marry a loving gay couple. mine sure wouldn't.
Won't you come with me to Alabamy,
Come and see my dear old Mammy
She's lynchin qu eers and boilin' hammy
That's what I like about the South!
Billy Graham ..... if ever there was a has-been.
In it for the money? I recall redaing in Graham's autobiography that he was appalled at the large amounts of money that were being collected in his early crusades. Thus he made sure he always received an average salary from his ministry that ran the meetings, regardless of how much people actually gave.But I suppose it goes without saying that we shouldn't expect Hitchens to do any actual research into this matter before bloviating upon it.
NO ONE believes EVERY word of the Bible. They just pick and choose whatever they like.
That's why there are so many CHRISTIAN HYPOCRITES on here that oppose legalizing gay marriage while not caring at all that every state allows divorce and remarriage, or as the Bible calls it ADULTERY.
The word 'abomination' is used 65 times in the OT and 2 times in the NT. The only named abomination in the NT is Luke 16:5 where Jesus calls the love of money an abomination.
Yet I don't think the Catholic Church regards money as an abomination.
Emil Blonsky is....the Abomination.
Watch the Incredible Hulk.
The NC State BOARD of Education has voted to OPPOSE Amendment One. They are worried about its impact on families and children. NC, please vote against. Gay marriage is already illegal in NC, and there are too many harmful ramifications for many others.
The NC State BOARD of Education has foolishly voted to OPPOSE Amendment One and remain backward and stuck in the past. NC, please vote for, not against. Gay marriage is already allowed in many more progressive places in the world. Progress is coming in your part of the world too, even though you might be able to deny it for a while.
Big T, I believe you have the vote "against" and the vote "for" confused. Please take a look at the proposed amendment.