Today we have reporting coming out of North Carolina that the wife of NC Sen. Peter Brunstetter remarked that her husband sponsored legislation to put the marriage amendment on the primary ballot “to protect the Caucasian race.”
Chad Nance, a Winston-Salem freelance journalist who is currently active in electoral campaigning, says poll workers outside the early voting site at the Forsyth County Government Center in downtown Winston-Salem reported to him that the wife of NC Sen. Peter Brunstetter remarked today that her husband sponsored legislation to put the marriage amendment on the primary ballot “to protect the Caucasian race.”This reporting comes from Jordan Green at YesWeekly, where there is also a transcript transcript of the reporter confronting Brunstetter. She denies tying Amendment One to racial goals, when directly confronted with having used the word "caucasian" says, "I probably said the word."
Nance said he recorded a conversation with the woman, whose name is Jodie Brunstetter, on video, and that she confirmed that she used the term “Caucasian” in a discussion about the marriage amendment, but insisted that otherwise her comments had been taken out of context by other poll workers.
Nance said an African-American poll worker identified only as “Michael” initially told him about Jodie Brunstetter’s alleged remarks during a conversation with opponents of the marriage amendment.
Nance paraphrased the remarks, as told to him by those who were present: “During the conversation, Ms. Brunstetter said her husband was the architect of Amendment 1, and one of the reasons he wrote it was to protect the Caucasian race. She said Caucasians or whites created this country. We wrote the Constitution. This is about protecting the Constitution. There already is a law on the books against same-sex marriage, but this protects the Constitution from activist judges.”
Nance said he recruited a friend, who works for the Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families, to witness his interview with Jodie Brunstetter. He said Brunstetter reluctantly acknowledged that she had used the term “Caucasian” and then repeated the statement previously attributed to her, but substituted the pronoun “we” for “Caucasian. Nance said Brunstetter insisted there was nothing racial about her remarks, but could not explain why she used the term “Caucasian.”
This whole idea that marriage equality is an existential threat to anyone is hard to entertain. These people believe that unless LGBT people are disenfranchised and punished by the law, somehow the human race will go extinct, well, it's just pure nonsense.
It's also not well-supported by the fact that LGBT already have been disenfranchised by the law, cast out from their homes, families, faith and local communities and yet, somehow there are still gay people in the world, and always have been.
And of course, the reverse is true, marriage equality has been law in Massachusetts since 2003, and yet, the apocalypse never came. Heterosexuals continue to marry and reproduce, and they even divorce less often than any other state. To be fair, Bay Staters may however, be more inclined to enter interracial marriages than states below the Mason-Dixon line. Maybe the Brunstetters have a point? Progress can be very scary to some people.
Yesterday, I posted a video of Peter Drake speaking at a Tea Party Republican rally sponsored by Freedom Works, blaming all the ills of the country on abortion and the "redistribution of wealth" aka social service programs. Drake gave $250,000, making him the third largest donor to the yes on One campaign.
It appears that the NC NAACP's Dr. Rev. William Barber was absolutely correct when he said amendment proponents are the "same regressive, ultra-conservative Tea Party type folks" that have sought to roll back every progressive advance in education, voting and worker's rights, and torn down President Barack Obama at every turn.
My friend Pam Spaulding, a resident of Durham, NC, says, "I hope all the black folks here in the state who haven’t yet gone to the polls take note of the Brunstetter’s worldview."
Update: This story has been picked up at the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo. Does not appear to yet have received mainstream attention in North Carolina or national media. Which is a shame. When these opponents let the truth slip out, it should be reported.
Update 2: Think Progress has video of the poll workers explaining what they heard Mrs. Brunstetter say, and Brunstetter confirming she "probably said the word" caucasian.
Mrs. Brunsetter is kind of hard to make sense of, she complains heat stroke has apparently confused her into spouting talking points reminiscent of white supremacy.
NANCE: You didn’t say anything about Caucasians?Sen. Brunstetter told ThinkProgress,
BRUNSTETTER: I probably said the word.
NANCE: In reference to….? You didn’t tell her anything about Caucasians? …
BRUNSTETTER: Right now I am a little confused myself because there has been confusion here today about this amendment, where it is very simple. The opponents are saying things that are not true and so there has been a lot of conversation going back and forth…. Right now I have some heat stroke going on. I’m not quite sure now. Because there has been lots of confusion.
“I know my wife does not think like that,” but admitted that “She got very flustered (she is not a political person) and then someone came up to her and started shooting questions at her. She noticed later that there was someone video taping without her knowledge.”I respectfully disagree with the Senator that his wife "is not a political person." This is self-evidently not true. She is videotaped working at a poll location in support of amending the North Carolina state constitution. This is a very serious political act, amending the defining document of the state. If she is not political, perhaps she has no business advocating a position on the amendment?
The North Carolina newspaper Winston-Salem Journal has picked up this story. Brunstetter is quoted as saying:
"I seriously don't remember," Brunstetter said. "There was quite a bit of conversation … the reasons for the amendment is for there to be marriage between a man and a woman and it does not matter what race."
What you can do to help defeat Amendment One:
- Sign up for a Courageous Conversation about Amendment One with someone you know in North Carolina.
- Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
- Download social media tools and yard signs to show your opposition to Amendment 1.
- Volunteer to Call for Equality—a national, virtual GOTV phone banking effort against Amendment 1.
- Sign up to help get out the vote in NC yourself! Courage Campaign is arranging out-of-state caravans and travel assistance is available.