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. DeeCee1000

    I hope hate mongers like Graham die a very long painful death for planting division, bigotry and hatred between fellow humans. People like him are a dying breed. . .the sooner they die off, the better will humanity be.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  2. ShawnDH

    Are these "Christians" aware they have the same exact "values" as the Taliban? What about FREEDOM? LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL? Or do they only believe in freedom, liberty and justice for people who are exactly like them? Shame on them.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • emma

      that is exactly correct....Billy G. also has the right to express his opinion. Same as everyone else....
      Whether you agree with gay marriage or not you have to allow him the right to speak his mind

      May 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • me

      emma... yes, speaking his mind is one thing, but now he's supporting a ban, that is stepping past the line of personal beliefs and into the area of restricting others...

      May 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • emma

      me.....No absolutely not....He can support whatever he wants but he does not have the power to ban anything. Believing that gives him power he does not have....

      May 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  3. ricardo1968

    There is no moral decay in our society. Only increased understanding of what is just.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  4. Proud Atheist

    "And why do you look at the splinter in your brother's eye, and not notice the plank of wood which is in your own?"

    Why? Because they're HYPOCRITES – that's why.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  5. BobInIrvine

    So Carl, should postmenopausal women be forbidden to marry? After all, procreation will cease with them.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  6. Rick

    Poor Billy Graham, just a feeble old man that has no concept of real life. He has lived off people throwing their money at him his entire life, but he knows what is best...... sure he does

    May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Lola Billings

      He is right.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  7. Scott Smith

    He who hath a ear, let him hear what the Spirit has to say to the Churches in these latter days (Rev. 3:22): Christians who do not truly love people that are different from them are not truly following Jesus's greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40).

    May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Rex Maghee

      Does loving someone mean you should let them do whatever they want?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  8. ohsnaps

    By Billy's logic, a hindu couple could not get married, because they don't believe in the bible. Nor could buddhists, american indians, athiests, agnostics, mormons etc. etc...

    May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  9. DAVE


    May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  10. ib1sage

    Very disappointing just like his son. Not very understanding of the science of being gay and coming from one who pro ports to be a Christian, very disappointing.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • mary

      And what if that science is finding defects and not a natural genetic predisposition?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Erik

      "And what if that science is finding defects and not a natural genetic predisposition?"

      Being gay is not a choice. I hate to burst any bubbles, but 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: gays are born this way.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      Mary, you mean like being mentally defective and believing in something that's NOT THERE and DOESN'T EXIST???

      You mean like that?

      Or do you mean that you think that being gay is just a choice. Since being a choice means that it doesn't matter and shouldn't be respected. Like your CHOICE to be a deluded religious nutwhack?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Lola Billings

      Being gay is 100% a choice

      May 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • sam

      Lola...unless you're gay, I hate to break this to you, but...you wouldn't know if it was or not.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Madtown

      Lola Billings
      Being gay is 100% a choice
      Are you gay, and thus some sort of authority? If not, when did you make the choice to be hetero, or whatever you are? I am hetero. But, there was NEVER a time in my life when I pondered upon what to be, straight, gay, or something different. I was who I am, just as is any gay person.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Being gay is 100% a choice"

      The experts around the world disagree with you.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • mary

      Here is the thing.
      "DO" whatever you like ..Its your life..
      I will feel about it exactly as I feel..
      How I feel about it is NOT a choice either...
      How about that???
      Oh thats right.. I am not allowed to feel different ...:(

      May 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Lola Billings

      I am not gay, but I have studied the Bible enough to know it's not what was intended.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Madtown

      Lola Billings
      I am not gay, but I have studied the Bible enough to know it's not what was intended.
      The bible was written by human beings, no different than you. The bible does not indicate God's feelings on the subject. The fact that God continues to create gay people, seems to me indicates that God is in no way against gay people.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • YeahRight

      If being gay was "natural," then the human race would have died out long ago. It is a choice

      May 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Madtown

      If being gay was "natural," then the human race would have died out long ago. It is a choice
      Did you make the choice to be a complete idiot, or was that natural? The human race would've "died out"? LOL!! Right, because only gay people are born, no hetero.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "If being gay was "natural," then the human race would have died out long ago. It is a choice"

      More low self esteem issues coming out, too funny your such a coward you had to steal another person handle. The experts around the world have proven it's not a choice. DUH!

      May 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  11. no nothing

    I love how "Conservatives" want government out of their lives, but they want the government to: 1. tell who can and can not get married, 2. tell a woman to have a child she does not want or can not afford., 3. tell us what kind of drugs we can and can not put in to our bodies. 4. tell us what you can and can not buy on Sunday.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Lola Billings

      The Sunday thing is a commandment. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Believe it or not it applies to you

      May 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • no nothing

      lLOLA What do you call "Blue Laws"

      May 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Just a thought...

      @ lola...the Jewish sabbath was Saturday, not Sunday. There is no decree for "Christians" to adhere to the idea of a holy Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath was abolished at the cross where Christ “canceled the written code, with its regulations” (Colossians 2:14).

      May 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • YeahRight

      That's old testament.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • YeahRight

      It is so clear that being gay is a choice. Gay pride parades? When is the last time there was a straight pride parade?

      It's a choice. The good book is clear on the subject.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "It is so clear that being gay is a choice. Gay pride parades? When is the last time there was a straight pride parade?

      It's a choice. The good book is clear on the subject."

      Wow you really are a coward aren't you. The hundred of thousands of experts around the world have proven it's not a choice all you are doing is proving your personal prejudice is founded in real facts.

      May 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  12. Capone

    It's ironic that someone that endorses hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and segregation is worried about the decline of "morality".

    If you want to see the primary cause of the decline of morality Mr. Graham, look into a mirror and you shall see it.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Doug

      It reminds me of thej udge in the 1960s who upheld a ban on interacial marriage, reasoning that "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races show that he did not intend for the races to mix." Let's hope that we soon live in a country where Billy Graham's views will seem as ridiculous as those of this judge.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  13. This aint right

    My unit itches and it smells really bad?? I don't think I should have done that!!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  14. Sam

    Mind your own business, old man!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  15. mary

    Pointless arguing with people who have a urge to "DO" something .
    They want acceptance cause doing it feels good..
    Well.. you can be angry all you want..
    NO one is stopping you from doing what you want.. But forcing everyone to tell you its "OK"
    isn't going to happen either..

    May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "But forcing everyone to tell you its "OK"
      isn't going to happen either..'

      Duh, it's the experts around the world that are stating its a normal part of human sexuality and since it's been proven not to be a choice, not a mental illness, and can't be voluntarily changed they deserve the same civil rights as straight couples.

      Those rights include:

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • mary

      A friend told me a long time ago that if you could actually know the kinds of things that turn others on..It would be amazing..Hence the people love get turned on my feces.. And bondage..etc.
      Is just another form of K....**nky..
      Thats all it is..
      Maybe if you all get your cred' we can work on getting the others some respect also...? 🙁

      May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Just a thought...

      Actually...this ammendment WOULD stop them from doing what they want (getting married).

      May 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  16. dreamer96

    He is getting old...One of the first signs of Alzheimer's is the inability to recognize sarcasm..

    May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • mary

      So you can agree that there are mental disease like alzheimer's.. But reject that being gay could be a mental defect?
      Go figure..

      May 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • dreamer96


      Can you accept that the belief in a God might also be all in our minds too..just because we are too afraid to deal with harsh reality of life..and need a crutch to lean on..

      May 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  17. atheist

    Billy Graham is going to wakeup dead very soon, and he's going to realize, "Oh f***! That was it! There is no afterlife. I'm screwed!"

    May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • mary

      I find it funny when some one is so sure there isn't ...
      Tell us all how you KNOW for sure you are right and he isn't?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Lois

      Wanna bet?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Danno

      Mary: If you're telling us there's an afterlife, the burden of proof is on you. And you have no proof.

      Just like if I told you I saw a unicorn, I wouldn't expect you to believe me without proof. Your boogyman is no different. Grow up.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • no nothing

      Mary, you are the one that think god exist now prove it.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • mary

      Odd you would use the word "burden"..
      The fact you don't believe it is of no concern to me..
      The fact that you are SURE there 'isn't' . Is a joke..
      A person that believes in something unseen is the same as you not believing in something unseen..
      If a believer is a dope then so are you.. So yeah..I think your funny...~! 🙂

      May 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • mary

      no nothing

      People always suspected there was something we breathed.. Knew it.. Couldn't see it..But it was there..
      Science proved it..
      some day.. I am sure if it s absolute proof you need..You are going to get it..
      In the meantime if the complexity of life ..The design in the most miniscule things on earth.. Does not make you even suspect there was a creator..
      Then other than a slap the the side of your head by his hand himself..Just isn't going to do it.. ~! 🙂

      May 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Danno

      Mary, your logic is a complete failure. It's clear why you need to cling to a reward/punishment system of behavior control in order to make sense out of a world you are too dumb to figure out.

      That fact that you think science will prove god exists someday cleary indicates you have no idea what science means. Or faith, for that matter. Have fun with your fairy tales... just like the ancient Greeks and Egyptians did. Now we raid their tombs and put them on display at museums. You really think Christianity will end up any different?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  18. Bob

    I hope North Carolina voters are smart enough to ignore that old man. He and his son have spewed enough venom for 10 lifetimes.

    And: Where in the Bible is marriage defined?

    May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • no nothing

      They don't call it "the bible belt" for nothing.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  19. Tim

    I agree that the Bible says marriage is between a man and woman, but if the Bible is used as a justification for legislation, then what happens to separation of church and state? I fear that rhetoric like that is very dangerous and not a foundation that the country was built upon.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • urouttolunch

      where, exactly, does it say that?

      May 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  20. Jodey

    Christians pick and choose what in the Bible to believe. That's not a religion - that's a salad bar.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • JM

      “There is no one righteous, not even one;
      11 there is no one who understands;
      there is no one who seeks God.
      12 All have turned away,
      they have together become worthless;
      there is no one who does good,
      not even one.”[b]
      13 “Their throats are open graves;
      their tongues practice deceit.”[c]
      “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]
      14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
      15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
      16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
      17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]
      18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

      23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • StatingtheObvious

      And I would be fine with letting them eat whatever salad they want. Unfortunately, they feel the need to force me to eat the same salad.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:36 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.