The Rev. Franklin Graham, CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said Monday that "activist judges are overturning the will of the people," when speaking about the 61 percent of North Carolina voters who supported an amendment banning same-sex marriage in their state.
"It's sad when a judge is able to overrule the will of the people. This is a democracy and the people spoke. We're seeing that activist judges across the country are overturning the will of the people," Graham, a native of the state, said in an interview with NBC Charlotte. "We saw that in California. We're now seeing it here in North Carolina now. I don't know what will take place."
Last week a court declared North Carolina's ban, which passed via popular referendum in 2012, unconstitutional. Counties in the state have since been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In 2012 North Carolina voters approved Amendment 1, a measure that added an amendment to the state constitution that banned gay marriage, with a 61 percent majority.
As of October, it was the last referendum on the marriage definition debate to succeed at the ballot box, with North Carolina voters joining over half the country in passing such an amendment.
A lawsuit was filed not long after the 2012 election, with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announcing in July that he would no longer defend the ban in court.
"It's time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward, knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the United States Supreme Court," said Cooper. "All federal courts have rejected these arguments each and every time, so it's time for the state of North Carolina to stop making them."
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. struck down the state amendment defining marriage as being between only one man and one woman.
The decision is scheduled to be appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will likely affirm the lower court decision, reported the Charlotte Observer.
"The 4th Circuit, which covers the Carolinas, ruled in July that Virginia's gay-marriage ban was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it would not review similar rulings in five states, including the Virginia case," noted the Observer.
North Carolina was one of several states to see bans passed by a majority of the electorate fall through the courts.
While many believe that the U.S. Supreme Court will have to eventually rule on the matter, the justices recently refused to hear an appeal for multiple rulings, in effect allowing for the legalization of gay marriage in said states.