That is the question I want to pose to Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of North Carolina State Senator Peter Brunstetter, who has been a big advocate for Amendment 1. The amendment, if approved by voters, would outlaw same-sex marriage in the state. Brunstetter was reported saying to poll workers the amendment is about protecting white folks in some respects.
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.”
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 until recently served as campaign manager for Matt Newton, a Democratic candidate for the 12th Congressional District. Nance announcedon Facebook today that he was resigning from the campaign because of Nance’s reaction to his plans to publicize Jodie Brunstetter’s alleged remarks. The Newton campaign has not responded to an e-mail request for comment about the resignation.
Nance has been working as a volunteer poll worker for the campaign of NC House candidate Ed Hanes Jr. and the campaign against the marriage amendment. He is a primary source for an unrelated story published byYES! Weekly about efforts to manipulate Democratic voters for the benefit of a favored slate of candidates. 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.”
Oh. Boy. The woman is denying she said the comments, of course:
Brunstetter denied saying that the purpose of the amendment is to somehow protect the white race from becoming a minority, as the other poll worker had accused her of saying.
“So often when I have talked with the opposition, they will misconstrue” what she says, Brunstetter said.
Brunstetter said she did not bring up race as an issue during the conversation, but that the marriage-amendment opponent did.
A transcript of the conversation between Nance and Brunstetter quotes Brunstetter saying that she “probably said the word” Caucasian during the conversation, but that “if I did it wasn’t anything race-related.”
Brunstetter said she could not verify the transcription, but added that it correctly portrayed her as denying making any racial remarks.
The transcript is on the blog of Yes! Weekly magazine.
Brunstetter said she doesn’t remember exactly what was said in the conversation between her and the amendment opponent.
“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.” (SOURCE)
Part of the transcript is pretty comical:
Me (Nance): You didn’t tell that one lady that it was to preserve the Caucasian race because they were becoming a minority?
Me: She’s lying?
Brunsetter: No. It’s just that same sex marriages are not having children.
Me: Yeahm but you didn’t say anything about Caucasians, white people, preserving them that’s why it was written?
Brunsetter: No I’m afraid they have made it a racial issue when it is not.
Me: She didn’t say it was a racial issue. She said that you had said that opart of the reason it had been sponsored and written was to preserve the white race. (a moment later) … you didn’t say anything about Caucasians?
Brunsetter: I probably said the word.
Me: You didn’t tell her anything about Caucasians?
Me: I want you to clear it up if you could.
Brunsetter: 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 there has been a lot of conversation back and forth. Right now I have some heat stroke going on. Um there has been lots of confusion.
Me: Did you say anything about Caucasians?
Brunsetter: If I did it wasn’t anything race related.
This more than a bizarre news event; it’s downright…peculiar in that the woman in question admitted to possibly using the word Caucasian, but quickly denied she probably used the term in any sort of race-related connotation. Aside from the recent campaigns against full GLBTQ equality and citizenship being based in homophobia and extreme religious viewpoints, the use of racism in the argument for state-sanctioned homophobia is one that I haven’t heard before.
I truly hope Brunstetter wouldn’t be careless enough to utter such offensive, racist comments in the name of promoting bigotry.
What do you think of Brunstetter’s comments?