The Rev. Billy Graham on Wednesday joined his son, Franklin Graham, in urging voters in North Carolina to approve Amendment One.

Voters on May 8 will decide the fate of Amendment One, the constitutional amendment which would bar the state from recognizing the relationships of gay and lesbian couples with marriage, civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern,” the AP quoted Graham as saying. “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. 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 statement, which will appear in 14 North Carolina newspapers, was issued by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Charlotte-based ministry which is led by Graham's son, the Rev. Franklin Graham. Franklin Graham earlier recorded a message on behalf of Vote for Marriage North Carolina, a group working to approve the ban.

William Martin, who wrote the Bill Graham biography A Prophet with Honor, said he was surprised by the stand.

“In the past, I have heard him say with respect to homosexuality, there are greater sins,” Martin told the AP. “Franklin has been more outspoken about it, but is sounds as if this is Mr. Graham expressing his own will.”