Tennessee State Senator Paul Stanley resigned Tuesday from the Legislature as a growing sex scandal threatened to topple him, the Tennessean reported.

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 $10,000.

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 pictures.

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.”