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."

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. Blooper1

    All of this drama is exagerated. Let people (man/woman; man/man; woman/woman; man/bulldog; who cares) live together if there is love. Just do one thing: don't call it marriage but something else. Lots of people will fail in arguments.

    May 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      blooper: why not call it marriage? as far as man and bulldog go, not so much

      May 6, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer changes things

    May 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  3. joe

    To Christians: Stop hating people.

    May 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Hitchens

      To Joe
      Truth isn't hate.

      May 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Hitchens – so how is denying a group of US citizens equal protection under the law, and equal civil rights as other US citizens a good thing? Especially when this activity is based on ignorance?

      May 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • mandarax

      Hitchens, funny how your "truth" makes such a convenient justification for your hate.

      May 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Burgerneal

      Not sure why people think that having a different opinion on this issue is hateful. This is America people. Don't we all have a right to express our thoughts and opinions? I don't acuuse you of hate because of your opinion. Just wondering......

      May 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Which part of truth is not hate do you have trouble with? Ignorance noted on primewonk post.

      May 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • mandarax

      It is hateful when one of those opinions is that another group of people are immoral, disgusting, an abomination, living in sin, responsible for the decline of civilization, and going to burn in hell – and therefore deserve to be treated as inferior human beings who are not worthy of the same human rights as everyone else. And that opinion includes the desire to make it law that basic rights are withheld from those inferior human beings. That's why.

      May 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Hitchens

      When it is truth it is not hate.
      Those who have put themselves in the grasp of perversion are not without hope. God has provided a Savior.

      May 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • mandarax

      Hey Hitchens, look in the mirror. That's what a self-righteous, holier than thou, ignorant bigot looks like.

      Save yourself.

      May 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Hitchens

      It is not my fault you cannot accept truth . I do not accept your bigoted assessment. Truth be told it is you that spouts hate.

      May 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Hitchens, until you prove the existence of a god and that the jesus myth is fact, you only have a theory, not the proven truth. Your "truth" is no more valid than "there are no gods." If you are honest, you would openly admit there is a non-zero probability that your god does not exist. Are you honest or a delusional liar?

      May 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • captain america

      hotair is no more than a butt in canadian. its opinion has no relevance to anyone in America and we suspect no one in its own country has any use for it. Go screw yourself hotairace. There's your sign

      May 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Truth isn't hate.
      But religion is.

      May 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  4. Lisa

    So much for living in the land of the free.

    May 5, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Primewonk

      Well Lisa, you're free as long as you are a white male landowner. Just like the FF originlly intended.

      May 5, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Hitchens

      primewonk ignorance alert.

      May 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I couldn't help but notice that Hitchens again chose to not refute what I wrote, and instead just demonstrated his continued ignorance.

      May 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Hitchens

      The issue at hand is your request for where you are ignorant. I am not trying to "refute" you merely pointing out the Proof that you yourself requested.

      May 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • AGuest9

      And what is factually incorrect about what Primewonk wrote? Primewonk seems to know history better than you.

      May 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  5. Primewonk

    Another proposed license plate slogan – "Now leaving the USA, welcome to Dumbfûckistan"

    May 5, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Hitchens

      another primewonk ignorance sighting

      May 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  6. Larry Moniz

    Proposed new license plate slogan for N.C. to go along with Amendment: "Visit N.C. where bigotry abounds."

    May 5, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • John

      You should try visiting North Carolina sometime.It's clean.You have unbelievable beauty,incredible beaches,majestic mountains....all in a day's drive.The people are warm and gracious and have time for everyone.God has truly blessed North Carolina and people know it.They want to keep that blessing.Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for a reason.

      May 5, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ John – if the people of North Carolina are so warm and gracious, why do they hate gay folks so much?

      May 5, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • common sense needed

      Because they are intelligent as well. Note to qu-eers "Truth is not hate."

      May 5, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Primewonk

      John wrote, "Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for a reason"

      Yes they were. And from your very own bible, it says, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." If you will note – it says absolutely freaking nothing about being gay. In fact, that verse perfectly describes every single ignorant fundiot talibangelical tea bagger out there.

      May 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • mandarax

      John, I agree with the first half of your comment completely. NC is fantastic. I would add that there are also outstanding universities and research facilities and a lot of very nice people. None of those things make it okay to be a bigot. None of those things make it okay to withhold basic human rights from a group of people just because they make you uncomfortable.

      Unfortunately there are also a lot of undereducated and overly zealous religious people (isn't it funny how those things go hand in hand?). Those are the same mouthbreathers that elected Jesse Helms. I am pulling for the people of NC to demonstrate their warmth and graciousness and vote this prejudiced amendment down.

      May 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Common sense needed wrote, " Because they are intelligent as well. Note to qu-eers "Truth is not hate." "

      What truth is that? If these fundiots were intelligent, they would understand that being born gay is no more "wrong" or immoral than being born left-haned or green-eyed.

      May 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  7. S.N.Rao

    Isn't North Carolina one of the states that become part of Confederacy? Hello NC please get out of U.S.A, you don't belong here. Go join any middle eastern or asian countries.

    May 5, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • candiroo10

      North Carolina was the last state to secede from the union. We should cut them some slack; Sherman did. However, stupidity rises in the south once again. Sigh.

      May 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  8. Art

    I couldn't care less about what Joel Osteen, Billy Graham, The Pope, and all the snorting preachers and Muslims think I should do. I'm straight.

    May 5, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Lisa

      I'm sure they'll still find something to condemn you for. If you're not for 'em, you're again' 'em!

      May 5, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  9. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things.
    Need proof? Look at the undermining filth they post on these blogs.

    May 5, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • Mirosal

      And you think the hate and outright bigotry spewed by Graham, Olsteen, and that idiot preacher in N.C. is healthy for anyone?

      May 5, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • One one

      Do you mean like this filth ?

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      May 5, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Hitchens

      @one one
      Justice is not filth. Filth is someone who would look at a just verdict of guilty to a criminal and try to make the verdict a crime. What type of low end person would do that?

      May 5, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Hitchens

      Truth is not hate.

      May 5, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Hitchens – are you freaking nuts? Here in America we have freedom of and freedom from religion. And here you are trying justify god commanding you to kill someone because they wanted you to go to a different church.

      You are just as sick and twisted as your putz of a god.

      May 5, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Lisa

      Your kind of "truth" is just an opinion, and one based on ancient, backwater superst.ition at that. It makes about as much sense as rounding up all the natural red heads and burning them as witches, or beating everyone who is left-handed into using their right predominantly. Why not make owning a black cat illegal too?

      May 5, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • mandarax

      Hitchens, I suspect your "truth" is a convenient justification for your hate.

      May 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Hate is not involved. You are the one bringing hate to the table. Your opinion seems to be if you are not agreed with you will whine hate. Did you ever consider what a feeble argument that is.

      May 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  10. Religion is not healthy for a boy's ass and other living things

    A prison cell changes things.

    Proven again and again.

    May 5, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  11. Tr1Xen

    Oh, can it, you shriveled old bag!

    May 5, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  12. Martin

    Billy Bible Bigot

    May 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Lisa

      Yes, remember the Nixon tapes? Billy has some bigoted ideas about Jews too, but I guess we're supposed to give them a pass because their generation all thought pretty lowly of minorities.


      May 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  13. Seriously

    Consider these quotes, and how you might feel if you lived in a country where these sentiments were mainstream:

    “Our leader was not elected…he was appointed by Allah.”
    “Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of Allah…must be denied citizenship."
    “I, your Provincial Governor, do hereby proclaim… a day of prayer and fasting for our country.”
    “Allah called me to this government position…my family fasted for three days to make sure it was true.”
    “"I would not put a Christian among my advisors, or in my government."
    “(our founding doc.uments) are quite clear that we would create law based on Allah of the Qur’an and Sharia Law, it’s pretty simple.”
    “I hope I will live to see the day when…we won't have any public schools. The Mosques will have taken over them over again and Imams will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"
    “There will never be world peace until Allah's house and Allah's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world."

    These statements should rightfully alarm you. Now consider this, YOU DO live in that country, and these are not Taliban quotes. In the above quotes the religious references have been changed. They are quotes from prominent, politically powerful Americans who would establish religious control over America’s government. Here are the actual quotes:

    “George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the United States, he was appointed by God.” –Lt. General William Boykin, US Army
    “Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church's public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship." –Gary North, Inst.itute for Christian Economics
    “I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim August 6, 2011, to be A Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation.” –Rick Perry, Texas Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate
    “God called me to run for this office, and my husband fasted for 3 days to make sure it was true.” –Michelle Bachman, US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate
    “"I would not put a Muslim in my cabinet, or in my administration." –Herman Cain, Republican Presidential Candidate
    “(Our founding doc.uments) are quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.” –Sarah Palin
    I hope I will live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken over them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" - Jerry Falwell
    There will never be world peace until God's house and God's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world." –Pat Robertson

    These statements should be no more frightening in an Islamic or a Christian context – this kind of rhetoric is a serious threat no matter who it comes from. Theocracy is dangerous no matter whose God is invoked. We hear these things from pious politicians every day and are likely desensitized to them, but even momentary consideration reveals them to be un-American to the core. Religious fundamentalists make no secret of their goal of controlling our government and establishing their narrow beliefs as law. We must not let that happen – not here, not in our country.

    It happens in small steps – the Ten Commandments in courthouses, prayer and creationism (“Intelligent Design”) in schools, revising science, history, and civics textbooks in Texas, State-endorsed prayer rallies, faith-based initiatives, and on and on – and because these steps may individually seem harmless, many people underestimate their consequences. That is why we must stay alert and fight to keep church and state separate. We should shudder whenever a politician or policymaker alludes to his or her religious beliefs as a justification for public policy. We should be deeply suspi.cious of anyone who claims to be chosen by God to lead us. We should aggressively defend our free society against any religious group who would hope to gain control over it.

    Do not underestimate the importance of defending the separation of church and state. Stand up for it at every opportunity with your voice and your vote.

    May 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Martin

      Ignorant American Evangelicals are paving the road for Islam in the U.S.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Thinks2010

      Thanks for the great post. I hope everybody reads all of it.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Christy G

      Well said. Thank you.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Seriously, thanks for posting that. All Americans should read it, although I think few will get it. It is time to work to marginalize the Christian extremists in both political parties and take our country back from their bigoted, backward influence.

      May 5, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • John

      Go read your history and you will see half of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence had gone to seminary,five were pastors and then try to tell me Americas founding fathers would endorse your separation of church and state.You sir are no patriot and I highly doubt you served this great nation by defending it.Shame on you

      May 5, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ John – what you did there is called moving the goalposts. You didn't bother refuting a sible point in the original post. Instead you went on a wild tangent about founding fathers going to seminaries.

      May 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • mandarax

      I nominate John for Minister of Propaganda of Dumbfukistan.

      May 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Seriously – "Consider these quotes"

      Nicely done. A bit frightening, isn't it?

      May 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • GLCarmine

      @Seriously –

      I'm a Christian and I'm with you! The religious right's movement to blur the lines between church and state stem from an unfounded paranoia that is manipulated by corporate sponsored politicians. The war on marriage actually looks like the 50% divorce rates of straight people. If you have to go to the courthouse to read the 10 commandments, you have to get out more often or learn to Google – Bible's are everywhere. Evolution should be taught in science and religion in social studies – there is no intelligent reason to push these things together, and this is already the case across the nation. Religiously convoluting these issues is simply political strategy: enflame people through a manipulation of their own faith and get people to vote for you because of these issues, and you can distract them from the fact that they're voting against their own economic security.

      If voters are convinced to attempt to legislate for EVERYONE behaviors that believers can only imperfectly demonstrate out of the wavering conviction of their own faith - sometimes (again, the divorce rate) - then voters will be fully preoccupied and can't ask where the money is or where it's going, which should be the first focus of any Christian in a CAPITALIST country because "you can't serve both God and money" – words of Christ, Matthew 6:24. Our American politicians are a little too bought and sold to be talking religion and morality to anyone. The ethics of a politician can only be found in the plans they make for other people, and if you have to plan to keep 2 people from marrying and providing a stronger economic foundation for their families, you might be religious, but you have no faith.

      May 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  14. Patrick

    He has all that money to toss about because he is not taxed. Failing to tax him after this is a violation of the bill of rights. He is trying to shove discrimination against me down my throat. The loving god I worship is ok with me being gay, why on earth would I give him up for this monsters false impression of the very same god????

    May 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • John

      You sir have created your own god.You are delusional and surely on a hell-bound train.

      May 5, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Lisa

      The folks who believe in a cruel God who hates gays created what they wanted to worship too. All gods are reflections of people's personal desires, a fantasy champion to destroy one's enemies and that goes for the "God is Love" crowd too, except it's people like you who are their enemy.

      May 5, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • sam stone

      who are you to speak for god, johnnie-boy?

      May 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      john: also, if we do not believe in your god, why would we believe in your god's hell? so, continue to issue your empty proxy threats. they are amusing and a constant reminder of the power of belief. delude on, johnnie boy

      May 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  15. Richie R.

    As morbid as this sounds, I can't wait for bigotted, cruel, human-rights denying people like that to die and leave the world to be far better off without them...

    May 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Rick

      Human rights? How about your right to breathe and your right to a beating heart? GOD gives you those rights. Care to trade God given rights with the rights granted by man or the government?

      May 5, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • sam stone

      Rick: You cannot prove the existence of a god, much less what he/she/it thinks

      May 5, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • AGuest9

      Sad, but true, Richie R.

      May 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  16. Reality

    Billy, Billy, Billy, come out wherever you are 🙂


    Time to escape from your 20th century red-neck beliefs. THE FACTS:


    "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions are supposed to obey the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-s-ex unions not same-s-ex marriages.

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex se-xual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male

    May 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  17. PumpNDump

    There's no bigot like an old bigot.

    May 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Just kidding! I love atheists. I was just pulling your chain.

    May 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • just sayin

      As long as the message gets out that Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things, humanity is served.

      May 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  20. n2styx


    May 4, 2012 at 7:29 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.