Franklin Graham Says He Is 'Not Homophobic' After Insisting Coronavirus Hospital Volunteers Oppose Gay Marriage

Franklin Graham, an evangelical pastor whose group Samaritan's Purse is running a makeshift hospital in New York, says he is "not homophobic" despite asking volunteers to oppose same-sex marriage.

Graham, who has a history of anti-LGBT beliefs, asks people to agree to a Statement of Faith which includes the line "marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female".

Speaking to Laura Ingraham on Fox News, he said he just wants people to "know the truth".

"I'm not homophobic and I'm certainly not going around bashing people because they may be homosexual," he said.

"I believe that God loves all of us, he created us all but we also are sinners and our sins separated from God and I want people to know how they can have a relationship with God and that's their faith in his son.

"I don't bash them. I want them to know the truth. That God does love them," he added. "And he died for their sins and they would refund and put their faith and trust in him, God would forgive their sins like you forgive me. I'm a sinner too. I'm different than anybody else. I'm a sinner that was saved by God's grace."

Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham's group Samaritan’s Purse is running a makeshift hospital in New York LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images

The hospital is located in New York's Central Park and consists of 14 tents with room for 68 beds to treat COVID-19 patients.

It is staffed by a team of more than 70 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel and relief specialists.

In a statement, Graham said he has been harassed by "officials and others" in New York.

"While so many have expressed their appreciation and support, sadly some New York officials and a special interest group have expressed concerns or outright opposition to the presence of Samaritan's Purse and our field hospital in Central Park," he claimed.

"They include: Eight Democratic members of New York's Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., The New York City Commission on Human Rights, The Reclaim Pride Coalition.

"While our Scriptural belief in marriage between a man and a woman seems particularly offensive to representatives of these three groups, we don't believe this is the time or place to wage this debate."

He added that Samaritan's Purse is a "Christian private relief organization that is funded almost entirely by individuals around the world who share our passion for providing aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution—and doing so in Jesus' Name."

Newsweek has reached out to Samaritan's Purse for a comment.

The map below, provided by Statista, shows the current spread of the coronavirus outbreak across the U.S.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S.
The spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. STATISTA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.