Tennessee State Senator Paul Stanley
resigned Tuesday from the Legislature as a growing sex scandal
threatened to topple him, the
Stanley resigned his Senate seat in a
letter delivered to Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.
“Due to recent events, I have decided
to focus my full attention on my family and resign my Senate seat
effective August 10, 2009,” Stanley said in the letter.
The Republican from Germantown
previously had said he would not step down from his Senate seat, but
the calls for his resignation increased as details of an alleged
affair with a legislative intern leaked in the press.
Along with Representative John J.
DeBerry Jr., a Democrat from Memphis, Stanley introduced a bill that
would bar unmarried couples from adopting in Tennessee, a state that
defines marriage as a heterosexual union. The measure would have
effectively outlawed gay and lesbian couples from adopting.
While the lawmakers touted the
regulation as a pro-family bill, anti-gay groups were more
forthcoming in their reasons for supporting the bill.
In Arkansas, a similar bill passed with
the support of the Family Council Action Committee, an anti-gay group
that also backed a gay marriage ban in 2004. The group urged passage
of the unmarried adoption ban to “blunt a homosexual” agenda, the
group said on its website.
Stanley's troubles began in April when
Joel Watts threatened to expose Stanley's extramarital affair with
McKensie Morrison, a student at Austin Peay State University.
Watts, a former boyfriend of Morrison,
told Stanley he would make public nude pictures of Morrison allegedly
taken inside Stanley's Nashville apartment if he was not paid
Stanley, 47, contacted the Tennessee
Bureau of Investigation and wore a wire to an April meeting with
Watts where he paid Watts the money for a disc that contained the
In a radio interview on local
conservative talk radio, Stanley said “his first priority was what
was in the best interest of my family,” asked for forgiveness, and
blamed the media for his downfall.
“The first thing I had to do was ask
God's forgiveness and ask for the forgiveness of my family,” he
said on Memphis' WREC.
“What I find is that almost without
exception, we all know that on any given day we have all said or done
something that we do not want on the front page of the paper. … I
think a lot of people express frustration with the changing
professionalism of journalism.”
“I have been criticized lately for
the positions I have advocated in the past, the pro-family positions,
moral positions, whatever, whatever I stood for and advocated I still
believe to be true,” Stanley said, then added: “And just because
I fell far short of what God's standard was for me and my life
doesn't mean that that standard is reduced in the least bit.”