Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of North Carolina state Sen. Peter Brunstetter, made the remarks “outside the early voting site at the Forsyth County Government Center in downtown Winston-Salem” while speaking to voters, Chad Nance, a Winston-Salem freelance journalist, reports. Nance heard about Jodie’s comments from an African-American poll worker who allegedly overheard Brunstetter say, “The reason my husband wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce.”
Asked to clarify her statement, Brunstetter reluctantly confirmed that she did in fact use the phrase “Caucasian”:
BRUNSTETTER: [P]eople who founded the United states wrote a Constitution and it has been what has preserved this society. And we were just talking about lots of different things which the gentleman was turning around.
NANCE: You didn’t tell that one lady that it was to preserve the Caucasian race, because they were becoming a minority? That’s what an old lady down the block told us.
BRUNSTETTER: No, no.
NANCE: You didn’t say that? She’s lying?
BRUNSTETTER: No. It’s just that same sex marriages are not having children. [...]
NANCE: You didn’t say anything about Caucasians?
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.
NANCE: So you did or did not say anything about Caucasians?
BRUNSTETTER: If I did it wasn’t anything race related.
Responding to his wife’s comments, Sen. Brunstetter told ThinkProgress, “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.”
“My wife is one of the sweetest, most genuine people you will ever meet,” he added. “Her convictions on the marriage amendment are spiritual in nature, not racial. The individual in question had been quite abusive and intimidating. The Amendment is not racially motivated, is quite simple and straightforward and, in fact, is widely supported in many areas of the African American community.”
Jodie told the Winston-Salem Journal, “I seriously don’t remember.” “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.”
Amendment 1, which goes to a vote on May 8, has already divided the African American community between leaders who argue that the Bible prohibits homosexual behavior and those who maintain that religious interpretations should not influence civil laws. The comments by Mrs. Brunstetter will likely interject more racial division into the debate.
For ThinkProgress’ full coverage of Amendment 1, click here.