To: NC Sen. Peter Brunstetter: Not to worry, Gay people CAN reproduce, it’s called ART.

May 3, 2012Carole No Comments »

According to the  Yes!Weekly  blog and videotaped interview with the wife of  NC Senator Peter Brunstetter,  the North Carolina legislator who sponsored the latest marriage amendment on the May state primary ballot, his support for Amendment One was motivated in part by his concern that gay people can’t reproduce.

Amendment One would amend the NC constitution to explicitly define marriage as between one man and one women and also strip legal rights from all kinds of civil unions, even heterosexual ones. Gay marriage is already illegal under state law but amending the constitution would make it more impervious to reversal by “activist judges” , according to supporters of the amendment. In other states where these type of amendments have passed, unintended consequences included the loss of insurance benefits to partners in civil unions  and also the loss of protection orders against non-married partners in domestic violence cases, leaving their victims vulnerable to repeated abuse.

The Brunstetter kerfluffal  turns on an alleged conversation between poll workers and Jodie Brunstetter,  the wife of the senator which was then repeated to  Chad Nance, a Winston-Salem freelance journalist who is currently active in electoral campaigning. A poll worker working alongside Senator Brunstetter’s wife reported to Chad Nance  that the Senator’s wife explained that her husband promoted this bill to protect the Caucasian race. In effect, Caucasians weren’t reproducing enough and gay marriages further reduced this proliferative potential.  Specifically, she was reportedly overheard to say, “The reason my husband wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce.” When the Senator’s wife, Jodie Brunstetter, was questioned by Nance about her remarks in a videotaped interview, she had a lot of trouble defending her remarks  (perhaps in part because she obviously felt ambushed by “gotcha” journalism and perhaps due to possibly having heat stroke). I actually felt some sympathy for her after viewing this videotape, because my brain tends to go  stupid when anyone starts videotaping me, a clear sign that I am not cut out for politics. None the less, I heard her link her and her husband’s support for Amendment One with the idea that gay couples don’t produce children.

Nance’s transcript recaps  the conversation in part like this, copied from “Yes Weekly account and also audible in the much longer videotaped conversation:

NANCE: You didn’t tell that one lady that it was to preserve the Caucasian race because they were becoming a minority?

Jodie Brunsetter: No.

NANCE: She’s lying?

Jodie Brunsetter:  No. It’s just that same sex marriages are not having children.

Now I have no idea what Mrs. Brunstetter actually said to anyone regarding Caucasians but I clearly heard her say that same sex marriages don’t produce children. Leaving aside the racism issue, which if true, is just too stupid to address,  is outside of my expertise and is being thoroughly covered by everyone else,  I thought I would address the “gay marriages don’t produce children” issue which is casually used to support Amendment One. I would be happy to put Senator and Mrs. Brunstetter’s  mind at ease if they have any concern regarding the ability of gay people to reproduce. I would hate for a simple misconception (sic) to be the basis of their support for a discriminatory Amendment.

Actually, Senator Brunstetter, gay people reproduce very well with just a little help from assisted reproductive technology. Unlike our straight patients who usually have underlying issues with plumbing or ovarian reserve or perhaps underlying genetic issues, gay people are typically reproductively healthy so they are the easiest patients to treat with ART. Their reproductive systems are fine, we just need to provide gay patients with a little help uniting egg and sperm, and maybe finding a nice uterus to grow the embryo. In fact, many gay couples, with just a little help,  can easily have as many children as they like with relatively little difficulty. Their infertility is often based solely on social, not biological causes.

Ironic, isn’t it Senator Brunstetter?  If your concern regarding gay marriage is merely reproductive capacity, maybe you should direct your efforts to promoting reproductive rights and supporting equal and affordable ART treatments for everyone- gay and straight- and  then everyone could reproduce easily and affordably, even if they need a little medical help. With everyone’s procreative potential maximized, you no longer have to worry that there will be a future shortage of NC citizens.

Here are some of the options for gay couples who want to have children, just to further inform and ease your mind:

  • Lesbian couples can avail themselves of donor sperm with intrauterine insemination and even take turns being the biological Mom.
  • Lesbian couples can use a sperm donor with IVF and again take turns being the biological Mom.
  • Gay men require a little more high tech help needing both an egg donor and a gestational surrogate but with ART and third party reproduction, all things are possible.
  • Lesbian couples or gay men with a gestational carrier could “adopt” spare embryos from other couples who have excess embryos in storage. Of course, many of the embryo adoption agencies are Christian and not gay-adoption friendly so you might have to work to change those discriminatory attitudes if you want to make sure that gay couples have every option for reproduction available to them.

So, hopefully, this little bit of education regarding the reproductive capacity of gay couples will alleviate any concerns you have that same sex marriages don’t produce children. This should  allow you to pull your misguided support for Amendment One and instead support  the procreative efforts of all kinds of loving unions before any lasting damage is done to the many recognized and unrecognized families already here in North Carolina.

© 2012, Carole. All rights reserved.

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