The Rev. Billy Graham has taken a rare political stand supporting the ban on gay marriage in his home state of North Carolina, according to USA Today. He said in a statement, “Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern. I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.”
“At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage,” Graham’s statement also said. “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.”
Graham’s colleagues seemed somewhat surprised at the strong stance Graham is taking to support the marriage ban, called Amendment One. Graham’s biographer William Martin said he couldn’t remember another time when the evangelist spoke so strongly against same-sex marriage. “I am somewhat surprised that he would take that strong a stand,” said Martin, a religion professor at Rice University. “In the past, I have heard him say with respect to homosexuality, there are greater sins. Franklin has been more outspoken about it, but it sounds as if this is Mr. Graham expressing his own will.”
Graham’s statement will be part of full-page ads to be run in 14 different newspapers over the weekend supporting the marriage ban. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina, but this ban will place an amendment in the state constitution thereby making it more difficult to overturn.