Christian Evangelist Franklin Graham on Gay Marriage: ‘Our Plumbing is Completely Different’

A video resurfaced this week of Christian evangelist and missionary Franklin Graham, son of the equally notorious (though possible co-opted) Billy Graham, being interviewed in November about his thoughts on marriage equality. As the battle for marriage rights heats up in states like Illinois, it might be worth revisiting some of the most common arguments against equality.

Watch the video below:

Graham’s thesis statement isn’t so much an argument as a rehashing of the anti-gay slander we hear constantly from assorted right-wing Christian groups and individuals:

“The family is the backbone of society, and there’s no way you can have a family with two females or two males.”

Really? There are scores of families out there who could prove this wrong — the majority of them happy, functional, and far less vengeful than most of the people who attack them.

Then, Mr. Graham tastefully reminded us that genitalia provide all the answers to matters of equality and civil rights:

“If you just think biologically how God made us, our plumbing is completely different… We cannot redefine what God gave to this Earth, to mankind. And it would be a great sin for us to redefine it.”

You read it here: the answer’s in the plumbing! And going against that is damnable. But don’t worry: he’s not homophobic! He just thinks we shouldn’t be treated equally:

“I’m not anti-gay, I’m not homophobic. But the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.”

It wouldn’t make sense if you said, “I’m not a racist; I just don’t believe people of certain races deserve the same rights as me” — and it doesn’t make sense here, either.

Clearly, anti-gay activists aren’t exactly using logic to debunk the plethora of valid arguments in favor of marriage equality — you know, things like equal access to benefits, protecting children whose parents are in same-sex relationships, and the right to express your love and commitment to your partner the way everyone else can.

Nope; they’re going for plumbing.

I think we’re gonna be okay.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at

  • Holytape

    If you have a problem with the plumbing get a better plumber.

    On a sidenote is ““If you just think biologically how God made us, our plumbing is completely different… We cannot redefine what God gave to this Earth, to mankind. And it would be a great sin for us to redefine it.”” just a big f-you to all the

    urologists out there.

  • John Small Berries

    Not to mention a bit of a double standard, coming from a guy who wears glasses instead of cheerfully accepting the imperfect vision which is “biologically how God made [him].”

  • WallofSleep

    “…there’s no way you can have a family with two females or two males.”

    Well, I guess I’ll have to call up my brother and tell him we never belonged to a real family, since we’re two dudes.

  • Michael

    “…there’s no way you can have a family with two females or two males.”

    Of course, even according to Graham, families with only one male parent or one female parent are just fine (at least, I haven’t heard him advocating for taking parental rights away from single parents, or for making divorce illegal), but adding another loving parent of the same gender suddenly causes a family to cease being a family. This makes perfect sense, because of REASONS.

    I love it when fundies try to logically support their bigotry.

  • Gary Cunningham

    Graham says he’s not anti-gay or homophobic, “but the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.” This is circular logic (or a lack thereof). If he believes in and promotes a religion that slanders and oppresses millions of people based on biological and psychological traits, then he is anti-gay and homophobic.

  • David23

    So how is his plumbing different from the rest of us?

  • blasphemous_kansan

    As mental gymnastics go, this routine requires a lot of pre-stretching!

    “I don’t hate you for being gay!!! It’s the Bible that hates you, duh!! So the Bible hates you, but I love the Bible, so therefore I love you!!”


  • Feminerd

    So, two guys having sex uses pretty much the same plumbing as man/woman sodomy. It does fit.

    Two women having sex fit *better* than some man/woman pairings, since they can use toys they know will work.

    If he isn’t aware of this basic biological anatomy, I kinda feel sorry for the guy. His sex life must really suck.

  • ortcutt

    Marriage equality opponents have said a lot of things that are deeply disparaging of adoptive parents, couples who can’t bear children, single parents, and step parents. That’s one thing that has disturbed me in this entire debate. The claim that the purpose of marriage is procreation between two biological parents tells adoptive parents that they aren’t real parents, it tells couples who can’t bear children (including elderly married couples) that their marriage is a sham, and it tells step parents that they can’t be real parents and make a real family. Even beyond the damage that this rhetoric does to same-sex couples, their vision of marriage and family is wrong.

  • TiltedHorizon

    Yes Mr Graham, our plumbing IS different. I crap from my ass, you do it from your mouth.

  • busterggi

    I diagnose a little too much lead in the solder of Graham’s plumbing – causes mental problems.

  • busterggi

    Graham is bi-poohlar.

  • Ian Coley

    I hate him for making these ridiculous arguments, but I love him for making these arguments so ridiculous.

  • Mairianna

    I’m sure his wife’s sex life really sucks!

  • Kengi

    So, from a theological perspective, what this means is that God has a huge butt crack that he shows off when bending over to do his job. This really makes me want to see the Sistene Chapel’s ceiling from the attic side!

  • observer

    “The family is the backbone of society.”

    Okay, you said it, that doesn’t make you the authority of it.

    “Take the family away…there’s no way you have have a family with two females or two males.”

    Just because you can/have make/made a child doesn’t make you’re a automatically a “good parent”. Family is more sociological then biological.

    “If you just think biologcally, how God made us, our plumbing. He made us male, and he made us female.”

    What are you, a sophomore? Bah, anyway…
    Ignoring the religious aspect (which, if I may be frank, should automatically deem your arguments invaled. But I digress.) So we have two genders, why is that an excuse to assume that only one gender ought to be attracted to another. Oh I’m sorry, I forgot, it’s about the sex: why is that an excuse to assume that only one gender ought have sex with- ah, forget it, it’s not worth rephrasing.

    “But God is the one who gave marriage.”

    Uh, no, we created marriage. You really think humanity is so obtuse that, of all the things we’ve accomplished, that it took an act of an infinite being to create something we call marriage?

    “When you go to Genesis 2, and God made Adam & Eve.”

    …I see God made two human beings, I don’t see anything in there about marraige. Lemme guess: it’s in there, I just can’t comprehend it because I’m an athiest.

    “There’s no room for…gay marriage, or same-sex marriage.”

    No room for gays, but divorced straights have no problem finding a spot.

    “Because that is redefining what God gave us. And we cannot redefine what God gave to this Earth, to mankind.”

    He didn’t seem to have a problem when we redefined marraige not to be polygamous.
    Oh, but of course, based on your Genesis quote, marriage has been monogamous since God created us.

    “I will never support it.”

    Oh, boo-hoo for us.
    Seriously, how narcissistic are you to think that your approval is that important?
    Keep your damn approval, it’s equality people want.

    “I’m not anti-gay…the Bible says homosexuality is a sin.”

    Now…let those words soak in (ignoring the “homophobic” bit). He’s dedicated to the Bible (at least the parts he cares about), namely a bit in the Bible that is anti-gay. So if he’s dedicating himself to that anti-gay part, then he himself has to be anti-gay as well.
    …Oh, yeah, it’s out of “love”, so it doesn’t count.

    “Adultry is a sin. The Petraeus Affair…(blah, blah, blah.)”

    Man, that was a hell of a scandle, but anyway: Adultry is looked down upon even by secular societies because it’s an act of betrayal. So it’s harmful in principle. Here’s the thing though: it’s been showen, without religious reasons, why adultry is bad. With or without religion, betraying someone who loves you is a dirty thing to do.
    No one’s agreeing with you that adultry is bed because it’s a “sin”, it’s becaues it actually is a bad thing to do.
    In other words, adultry isn’t bad because it’s a “sin”, it’s bad because it is based on its own principles.

    Ugh, I’m ranted out. :P

  • chicago dyke

    haw! i rant frequently, Friend. yours is nice.

    speaking of which, and going totally off topic (don’t tase me, Hemant!) i’m forming a writers group.

    writing a book? or have you been trying for the last 7 years, and sort of not getting it done? well, it’s time. You Can Do It.

    doesn’t matter how long or short. or what topic. the idea is one from my old dissertation writing days. at UC we had a “club” where we’d meet weekly, and review each others’ and talk about our work. it’s highly motivating, which is what writers often need.

    email me at anheduanna AT the yahoo m place dot com. it could be a lot of fun.

  • MargueriteF

    “There are scores of families out there who could prove this wrong …”

    A “score” is twenty, so I’d say this is far understating the matter. Thousands of families! Tens of thousands! Of COURSE you can have a family headed by two males or two females. What he’s saying is that he doesn’t want to recognize those families. Tough, dude. They’re out there.

  • Jacob Ω

    “Can a person be forgiven of murder? Absolutely!”

    So, I can just flat out kill a guy, and a little prayer and some Jesus magic gets me out scot-free.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “Our plumbing is completely different.”

    Funny, but I am pretty sure a snake will fit down most drains.

  • John

    “I’m not anti-gay, I’m not homophobic. But the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.”

    See, to a Christian this makes sense. They can separate sin from everything else. You know, love the sinner, hate the sin. They don’t think they are being hateful, at least towards people. They are fighting the sin. In fact, they are protecting, in this case, homosexual FROM their sin. They think they are crusading to save gay people! What they can’t grasp is that whatever they THINK, their actions are certainly hateful, mean spirited and wrong.

  • chicago dyke

    not to mention ignoring the “family” structure of their own holee books.

  • Aspieguy

    Oh, Franklin, Franklin. You are crazier than your father. I wonder if the Supreme Court will consider the plumbing argument?

  • pagansister

    “Our plumbing is completely different”. Good God, Frankie is a genius! He is such a jerk ——

  • randomfactor

    His headpipe connects directly with his tailpipe.

  • cathouseumbrella

    “…there’s no way you can have a family with two females or two males.”

    Oh I don’t know about that. The family I grew up with consisted of three males and one female.

  • roberthughmclean

    Oh jees we’re in trouble now! Who can afford a plumber?

  • geru

    I don’t have any children so I don’t know much about raising children, but suppose that a couple happens to get a baby by some other means than giving birth to it themselves, adoption etc, which as I understand happens from time to time.

    So now that they have this child, at which point will the child’s upbringing require that a penis must enter a vagina? Is there some point in childhood in which the child will perish unless it’s caretakers merge by male/female intercourse?

    I can’t think of any, but then again as I said I don’t have any experience in raising children, so I suppose there must be some reason why Mr Graham is suggesting something like this.

  • Felyx Leiter

    Literal LOL. Bravo.

  • eric

    “If you just think biologically how God made us, our plumbing is completely different…
    Is it just me, or does that sound more like an argument against heterosexuality than it does against homosexuality? “Our plumbing is different” is an all-around stupid argument, but taken at face value, it seems to be an argument that we we shouldn’t pair up with people of different plumbing.

  • Jason Kushner

    Well ,if you support gay marriage you must support polygamy. If you are against polygamy then that proves you aren’t really for gay marriage. in the case of polygamy who cares what 3 or more consenting adults do in private, right? What if scientists prove that some people are born to be polygamists would you support it then like you do gay marriage? If you say ‘polygamists who were born that way need to be cured’ then that could easily apply to your born gay argument. Oh dear

  • 3lemenope

    Well, if you support private ownership of semi-automatic weapons you must support private ownership of full automatic weapons. If you are against full autos then that proves you aren’t really for semi-autos. In the case of full autos who cares how fast or easily bullets come out on the range or into a deer, right? What if scientists prove that full autos are no more likely to be used in committing crimes than semi-autos? If you say ‘full autos need to be confiscated’ then that could easily apply to your semi-autos argument. Oh dear.

  • allein

    Hey, my family has 2 females and 2 males! My mom and dad are going on 43 years in April…they’re gonna be so sad to find out we weren’t a real family all this time.

  • Houndentenor

    My plumbing works just fine. But what makes me laugh about this is that anyone takes Franklin Graham seriously. He was his father’s prodigal son who failed at everything he did and finally decided to cash in on his father’s legacy. He’s always saying something stupid to pander to the teavangelicals.

  • Houndentenor

    Love the Evangelical, hate the right wing supidity?

  • allein

    I, for one, am not against polygamy in principle. (And I am straight, currently single, and not interested in being in any sort of polygamous marriage, for the record, so these questions do not really affect me on a personal level.) As long as all parties are truly consenting adults (which is often not the case in, for example, the FLDS version of polygamy), I have no problem with it. There are logistical issues, however, with the way our marriage laws work. Two gay people fit into the already existing structure, since the laws are written to apply to a pair of two; a group of three or more does not. Certain aspects of marital law would have to be reworked to accommodate larger groups and that potentially makes things very complicated. No one is really fighting for that at the present time, though if it happens in the future I wouldn’t be surprised, nor would I oppose it.


    In the United States, putting the title ‘reverend’ ahead of ones name has always been a license to say absurd things and get away with it.

  • kaydenpat

    Saw this story on Joe My God about a gay couple which adopted a baby found in the subway.

    I’d like Graham to tell this couple and their son that they are not a family.

  • Houndentenor

    There are plenty of families with two male or two female parents. That’s a lot of examples of something “there’s no way you can have”.

  • Houndentenor

    Sorry for the ad hominem but I just can’t help myself. Franklin Graham is Billy’s prodigal son. He was rebellious and failed at everything he did. Finally he decided to cash in on his father’s fame. It seems to be paying off quite well for him, but it’s hard for anyone who knows his story to see him as anything but a fraud.

  • blah

    I believe he’s strictly citing biology. His point, if God had meant for males to come together and for females to get together, then why can procreation only take place when members of opposite sexes get together?

    If making babies is a natural process, then how can being homosexual be natural as well? He’s saying the evidence is in the function of this process.

    If 300 years from now the combustable engine has long been replaced, its not like someone will look back at a car and think, hmm…. I be this machine was used for creating stir fry dishes on the manifold. No, the evidence of its purpose can be seen in the design. Can you cook stir fry on the manifold? Sure. Is that its purpose? Not so much.

    So, when looking at the two sexes, can two members of the same sex be attracted to one another and give each other, physical and intimate emotional pleasure? Sure. Is that the design? No.

  • Pseudonym

    Would we call Billy Graham equally notorious? Seems a bit unfair to speak ill of someone who is too senile to defend himself, both from Franklin and from us.

  • Jesus

    So, are you atheist because people don’t accept your lifestyle? I love everyone and so should everyone. Everyone has faults and problems. You should reconsider. It is easier to prove Me than to disprove my Father.

  • observer

    Sorry, but I’m not really a good writer, and I’m too shy. So I’m gonna have to turn your request.

  • BibleChristisn

    It great to see that Franklin Graham is being honest on what the Bible teaches on homsexuality. The Bible says it is wrong. The Bible is anti homexuality. So repent and turn to Christ and be forgiven.

  • Rain

    “If you just think biologically how God made us, our plumbing is completely different…

    Yeah thanks. That is some deep thought there. Wow.