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. truthisall


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

      h-h-h-h-hel-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-o! XD

      May 4, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  2. truthisall

    H-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-s spread HIV and other s exually transmitted diseases at a transmission
    rate of 40 to 80 times that of non-h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-s and 20% of h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-s have HIV.

    From the time of entering HIV medical care using antiretroviral drugs the life
    expectancy is 24 years with an average per person lifetime medical cost of

    Antiretroviral drugs are expensive($1400 per month), have serious side effects
    and missing doses creates multi-drug resistant HIV strains with poor
    prognosis that can be passed on to others.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Nevermind

      And b-i-g-o-t-r-y is c-o-n-t-a-g-i-o-u-s.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • XO

      I-I-I-I...I forgot what I was goingg-g-g-ggg tt-t-tt-to say-ay-ay-ayy.... b-b-b-b-b-b .....

      May 4, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  3. truthisall

    The h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l lifestyle is dangerous and should be discouraged.
    H-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y is not proven to be genetic and is a lifestyle choice.

    H-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-s take no responsibility for the harm to society from the h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l

    Encouragement of h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y must stop. Everytime another child is encouraged
    to become a h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l another life is exposed to a high prevalence of HIV and
    other s exually transmitted diseases.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • NOT the lord (and NEITHER are you! or your preacher...)

      9 out of 10 mental patients believe that S_T_U_P_I_D_I_T_Y is best expressed with hyphenated spelling.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Johnny Shapeshifter

      It may be 9 out of ten, but this is prayer troll by yet another name, so it would be better to say 90 out of 100 just sayins.

      May 3, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • XO

      I-I-I-I-I..I c-c-can't s-spell a-anyth-th-thing n-n-n-n-n-orm-mally ! ! ! ! O-OM-MM-MG–G-G-GG!!!!

      May 4, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • Erik

      "H-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y is not proven to be genetic and is a lifestyle choice."

      Being gay is not a choice, science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

      In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

      But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

      This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

      This is not an issue in dispute. According to modern science: they are born this way.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  4. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Gay will never go away! God Damn it just leave the children alone with your malignancies of social disfigurementations!

    May 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  5. It comes down to this...

    @Sarah Chang
    I'd rather be a puppet than to be thrown into a Hunger Games scenario by a god who says he loves me, and then punished along with the rest of humanity, by virtue of being BORN after a naked chick who ate an apple on the advice of a talking snake with hands.

    And yes, he did "set them up." there's a legal doctrine to describe what God did- in Torts, called the Doctrine of Dangerous Instrumentality- aka the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. read about it.

    I'd rather be redeemed, and have been. And being a puppet really isn't one of the choices. You want to choose something else, go for it. And you seem a bit arrogant to me, also. Lol

    May 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  6. truthisall

    Holland has had h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l marriage since 2000 which has caused marriage decay:

    May 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Observer

      Before gay marriage was allowed in our country, almost 50% of all marriages failed. Flip a coin. One magaizine article is just one OPINION.

      Try again. Read what the PROFESSIONALS at APA say.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Nevermind

      First, the article goes out of its way to deny that the survey results imply causation. Second, the "test" was a series of loaded questions that wouldn't pass the design requirements of any competent survey agency. And third, the article appeared in a neo-conservative blog/newsletter that is pushing an agenda that you agree with. You are going to have to do better than this to persuade anyone who doesn't already agree with you.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  7. truthisall

    Scandinavia has had some form of h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l marriage since 1989 which has caused
    marriage decay:

    May 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Observer

      Unproven connection. Guess again.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  8. tnmtl

    If Jesus came back today, "Christians" like Billy would crucify him all over again because Jesus would rail so hard against their hatred, greed, and hypocricy.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Chad

      that would imply that Billy is saying something other than what Jesus said?

      Like, what?

      May 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  9. mpottsp

    This response by Rev. Graham is an example of agreeable and kind disagreement ..."now aint that America". He's not snarling hatefully like so many other so called believers of the good news.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  10. Bill

    Wow!!! So, a man has a different opinion and you wish he were dead? I disagree with him on the amendment because I think civil unions should be allowed. So you are saying because he feels gays shouldn't be allowed to get married that the world will be better when he is dead? Whew....

    May 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Phoenix AZ

      ABSOLUTELY!! And he'll burn for eternity for teaching bigotry to a group of followers instead of UNconditional love! Good riddance to him!

      May 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  11. tom s.

    God already has an amendment banning the Graham family from entering the gates of heaven, he can go to hell along with histories other "haters" hitler and the likes !

    May 3, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  12. truthisall

    It is clear that marriage equality for h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l marriage is a lie
    for special treatment and legitimization of h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l relationships.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • gadflie

      So, it's special treatment to allow them to marry those they love? What do you call the treatment of straights then?

      May 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  13. truthisall

    H-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l marriage will be stopped in the U.S. when the harm from h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l marriage is realized.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Observer

      Clueless. The APA says it doesn't harm children. Ooops.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Andrew

      So... never? Cause Canada has it, and the Netherlands have had it for a while, and they're doing just fine from the whole 'gay marriage' thing. What bad has come from it?

      May 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      You can't reason a person out of a position they weren't reasoned into. Religion is contrary to reason.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • NOT the lord (and NEITHER are you! or your preacher...)

      being L G or T is as much of a choice as your parents choosing to bring a complete f'in moron into the world

      May 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  14. lex


    May 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Hotay

      I agree! asdf woefma aweofm v.iealse!

      May 3, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • XO

      asdoa smaei aoekal flwefanp as amsdfokpfel !!!

      May 4, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Vlacmere

      Chasms! Toreadors! Tractors!

      May 4, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  15. John of Indiana

    Full page ads in all of NC's major papers?
    How many hungry children would that money have fed?
    Instead, it's all wasted in some old fossil's misguided efforts to spread hatred because he thinks that's what his ill-tempered, sociopath invisible friend in the sky wants.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Chp

      yes! Exactly!

      May 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • NOT the lord (and NEITHER are you! or your preacher...)

      Jughead and Veronica told me that those Asian people choose to have narrower eyes. Ziggy said that people who write and use forks with their left hands are just doing it to try and be cool. Garfield says that Africans have secretly painted their skin darker when whites aren't looking for centuries. Richie Rich says that Scandanavians people permanently bleach their babies' hair shortly after birth. Prince Valiant says that all the brown eyed people are actually wearing contacts. and, of course, L'il Abner says that the gays are coming to convert our kids.

      May 4, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  16. Joe Plumber

    I guess "America's Preacher" is just another bigot. Its too bad because this is such an intrusion of religious beliefs on civil laws. Something I have heard him talk about with common sense. Too bad North Carolina is moving back to 1955.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  17. Jake

    Welcome to the United States of the Talibans.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • John of Indiana

      Make that "Tali-born-agains".

      May 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      The American democratic republic is falling to the imperial ambitions of the falsely named "Republican" Party just as the Roman republic fell to the imperial ambition of the Caesars.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  18. truthisall

    yes it is

    May 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Observer

      Are you through claiming that TRUTH is lies? Know better now?

      May 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Observer

      I apologize. It was directed elsewher. I'm sorry.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  19. Observer

    It comes down to this...

    “Fifty-three percent of Americans support making gay marriage legal, a Gallup poll showed on Friday, a marked reversal from just a year ago when an equal majority opposed same-s-ex matrimony.

    The latest Gallup findings are in line with two earlier national polls this spring that show support for legally recognized gay marriage has, in recent months, gained a newfound majority among Americans.”
    - Gallup Poll, 5/20/11

    You really shouldn't call people liars when you are so IGNORANT.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  20. Randy

    Truly the world will be a better place when this sad old codger is gone. By gone I mean dead. And he can take his son and daughter too. Leaches.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:06 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.