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. Joe Gila

    The people of North Carolina democratically made a decision.......CASE CLOSED !!!

    May 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  2. Al

    Please tell me how Billy Graham can speak out on a ballot initiative and keep his tax exempt status?? I hope the IRS is going to look into this.It is not right it is not fair. If Billy wants to play politics he should pay taxes. I am sick of these people thinking they have a right to impose their beliefs on others. They have no right to expect others to live by their beliefs.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      I agree.

      However the Christians will play the christian persecution card to the max.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  3. clothing shop

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    May 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  4. ZackSetzer

    Everyone should try to learn as much about the issue as possible. Here is an interesting legal analysis of the amendment by an attorney in North Carolina – http://www.legalwisenc.com/?p=899

    May 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  5. hommez

    The religious seem unable to understand the distinction between the public and the private, and to insist that their private beliefs, which secularists would defend their right of, should be pushed onto the public who may or may not share in their beliefs. And yet they cannot understand the backlash–that we are seeking to defend the right to the kind of personal choice which allows them to worship as they please.

    Here is an article on human rights and gay marriage.


    May 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • daniel g burnett

      This is a war on intelligence not political or bible thumpers. Two men do not a marriage make. Sorry that is too plain and simple. What next? Why are we debating such silly subjects when people are out of work and fighting for a crust of bread.
      We all should be ashamed of ourselves and our country. This is what happens when the lawyers take over the country and have decades of dominion. We have a President who gets impeached and goes back to work the next day. He debates the important issue of what the definition of "Is is" while the dumb terrorist walk in and live among us smart people . As we watch TV and try to double down on a second house. If our own President now wont answer simple questions straight "Its beyond my pay grade" this from a harvard grad. No wonder us simpletons can't define what marriage is either.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Shawn

      daniel g burnett: Two men do not a marriage make IN YOUR EYES. "Sorry that is too plain and simple." This is supposed to be America, not YOUR idea of America. If you're not naturally attracted to other men, then don't worry about it. If a man wants to marry another man (since that's what they both OBVIOUSLY must inherently really like), why shouldn't they do so? If they want to have their LOVE for each other formally recognized -then maybe just let them deal with God and mind your own business. It's been going on since the dawn of man, and I have yet to see the horror Christians seem to predict. And please don't say Sodom and Gomorrah. Please . . . because I'll just laugh. Such a fairy tale is not convincing in the least. Nor is Noah's Ark.

      Why should all the benefits bestowed upon a marriage be offered to only straight people? The way I see it, if gay people can't have the same exact unions as straights, then why should they be responsible for paying taxes? The government will take their money, but deny them civil rights? Not fair. It's just grossly unfair. And your personal argument is all based on a stupid book of mythology with NO EVIDENCE OF TRUTH WHATSOEVER. None! There are so many things in the bible that are ridiculous or that have been proven false by science and rational, intelligent people. We sort of make light of the stories of Zeus and company from past religions as they've now passed from theology to mythology, but what's so different? They are all just stories and fables -the bible included. The bible is no different (just less colorful perhaps). Adam and Eve? The serpent and the apple from the Tree of Knowledge? The rib? Heeheehee.

      It's people like you who are the war on intelligence. The only thing you can say is "well, the bible says." That's not intelligent.

      May 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  6. kindness

    A thought to consider without ego
    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Trancend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ will result in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Currently.... your constructing your own path that suits your sin lifestyle.

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find a truth you can take with you in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life. You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf, the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed, your good deeds are forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated, your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over .
    Trancend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Relise your a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent....

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth.

    Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment. You don't get what you want you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Down is up. Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.

    Your all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.

    May 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Spawned

      Thanks for all the Bible barf! Please stop.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Tom

      You are living in a mythology that has no supportive justification other than a book written by a bunch of men and edited by a bunch of men and translated by a bunch of men over the last 1500 years. Wake up and smell the coffee. If there were a Jesus and he were the son of god, he would not be as prejudice as you. Keep your damn mythology to yourself. Your book is too old to be of any value.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Quoting bronze age tribal ramblings, how logical, intelligent, Ummm NOT!

      May 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • ElmerGantry


      I saw this from a post some time ago. Sooooo here is your sentence with a "sentence enhancer" in bold.

      Thanks for all Buy-Bull stuff. Please stop.


      May 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  7. really?

    and how many concubines did Abraham have?

    May 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  8. Steve

    It will come as no surprise to anyone outside North Carolina when the people choose to discriminate. Each state which chooses to do so will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of the law with regard to such regressive, discriminatory, hateful legislation which is purely faith based and as such has no basis in law. We are a sad nation indeed to believe we can discriminate continue to discriminate against a class of citizens. Pathetic, weak-minded people are at the root of this issue.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Stephen

      Poor delusional Billy Graham and his brainwashed followers. The judgment of history will not be flattering to them.

      Meanwhile, good people - progressive christians and compassionate atheists alike, let's keep working together to make our society better.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  9. Travis Stone

    "Dear Lord,"
    Forgive us all, for we know not, what we do. We are letting the earthly things consume us and you are letting us believe the lies that we are telling ourselves. Have mercy on our country, state (NC), and our hearts. There are some that still fear you and your (just) punishment. We have seen your work across the country in the past year with the storms that have taken life and prosperity. Believers in the Lord and our savior Jesus Christ, there is a calling to fall on your needs and repent for your sins before God and be saved or suffer the penalty of sin. Be the peculiar people that stand out for the Lord. Witness for Him and pray that the Lord can use us for his work before our Savior comes back again
    We have gov't officials that have violated the code of marriage and are calling out to gain followership and to feed and prosper on earthly lust to gain voters. Have mercy on their souls. Are we not living in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. Dear Lord, you sent Fire and Brimstone them but you let your believers escape. Please, rescue us and protect us O' Lord.
    Let all that read, be weary of the sin of this world and beg for forgiveness. It is time to arise and stand on the foundation our Lord and his son, our savior, have made and be not weary, for the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords will be with you, today and always. Be awaking, be shaken and be moved......

    May 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Spawned

      Jesus isn't really the son of God, just another guy running his mouth looking for attention and spreading his personal social and political agendas. God didn't make gay people bad, you did.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  10. Atheists are gays

    And they want all gays to become an atheist.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:35 am |
    • Original atheists

      Nope! We don't even like gays but they are the most vulnerable ones to become atheists.

      We handily make them turn their back from their faith by convincing them that God hates gay.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:58 am |
    • Greg C.

      My hat's off to Billy Graham...everyone wants to defeat truth in the eyes of what suits them; your relativism will, in the end, consume you...

      May 8, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      That's crazy! I would not wish the bullying, discrimination, harassment, higher suicide rate, and possible murder on any one.

      Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

      What you do to the least of my brothers, yo do unto me. [Jesus]

      I suspect you ar false mirroring you unchristian non-family values onto others. BETCHA!

      May 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  11. asrael

    I stopped reading at "Graham never thought"...

    May 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  12. Frank Stewart

    An the good reverend is funding his ads print and television through his evangelical association, which is non-profit, non-tax-paying organization. So all his 'followers' are actually flipping the bill for his media campaign through their donations.

    May 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  13. Worship Poseidon

    All christians are closet gays. If Jesus asked them to bend over they would.

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

      "this is my body, eat in remembrance of me"

      May 7, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  14. Bebe

    It is a shame that the 93-year old Billy Graham should end his career fighting for prejudice and exclusion of civil rights for all citizens instead of the "Christan love" that he used to tout as a fire-and-brimstone evangelist in his heyday. Better for him to have left this alone and quietly lived out his life on past glory. He has none left. North Carolina is on the losing side of history, as are Graham and his family. Perhaps this bill will not pass, and North Carolina will not have to face future shame for having supported such bigotry. We can only hope. Meantime, Billy Graham is tarnishing his own reputation forever, no matter what the few around him say.

    May 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • BY

      Billy Graham lives for a glory that is not here on earth. I thank him for standing on the Truth.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I thank him for standing on the Truth."

      He's not standing up for the truth. The experts around the world have proven that being gay is not a mental illness, it's not a choice and it can't be voluntarily changed. Nowhere in your bible does your god condemn the saved loving respectful relationship of a gay couple.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Cq

      He's stepping over people who are fighting for the same rights everyone else has. That makes him an enemy of liberty. What kind of "truth" is based upon keeping liberty away from certain people simply because they are different?

      May 8, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • sam stone

      be wary of those who capitalize "truth"

      May 8, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • rocketscientist

      Y'know, I'm not going to judge Rev. Graham (although I don't like his son Franklin at all). I believe he's speaking about what he believes in, not out of hatred. My father, who is not very religious at all, but was raised Baptist, always spoke highly of Mr. Graham, probably because he heard some of his homilies. He appreciated the fact that Rev. Graham spoke to a broad audience of Christians of many denominations and was active in interfaith discussions. I think my dad appreciated that, as someone who has been for tolerance and respect of all religions, races, and cultures.

      This gay marriage issue is so divisive and there is so much angry rehtoric and a lack of respect for the others view on each side. I really wish both sides would stop demonizing the other.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • sam stone

      i wish one side would stop trying to deny the civil rights of the other

      May 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  15. carrs_nhs

    A citizen expressing his personal opinion on a moral issue, and paying to have his opinion heard to a wider audience. What's wrong with that? He has as much right as a gay activist to express his opinion. Fortunately for the majority of citizens he is taking a position based on ancient morality, and not 21st century secularism.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      yeah, nothing more relevant to our time than the supposed morality of an iron age, middle eastern agrarian society

      May 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  16. retkirnov

    What is Religion? I suppose it is up to the individual; however:

    In the end You Decide.

    May 7, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  17. sottanisse

    Billy Graham...I thought he died? Jeebus man, give it a rest. Just what we all want to listen to, a demented old bigot.

    May 7, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Which God?

      @sottanisse, no, he is dead..brain dead, and been that way for years. Christainity helped him get that way. Drove him crazy trying to reconcile the BS in the bumble-mumble book

      May 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  18. 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 7, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  19. ElmerGantry

    Giving someone else equal rights does not infringe or take away rights from you. It just makes it illegal to enforce your prejudice and hate.

    It's that simple!

    To the people practicing hate.
    How about practicing the do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do you want others to practice hate towards you? I don't think so. Or is it that you are false mirroring, you know the practice of falsely thinking others practice hate because you do, the practice of projecting your inadequacies onto others.

    Remember "what you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me [Jesus].

    May 7, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things*

      May 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  20. George Clifford

    Graham retains a bigoted, ill-informed view of the Bible. In spite of his iconic stature, his reading of the Bible is informed only by his own cultural biases and not by wider, scholarly perspectives, i.e., the historical critical method. Christians should strongly oppose NC Amendment One, which represents an attack on God's children and the Christian understanding of marriage as a consenting, monogamous, faithful, loving bond between two adults (cf. http://blog.ethicalmusings.com/2012/04/nc-amendment-one.html).

    May 7, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Billy Graham

      "Graham retains a bigoted, ill-informed view of the Bible."

      You seemed to know more about the Bible, please enlighten me!

      May 8, 2012 at 6:02 am |
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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.