Larry Stickney, who filed Referendum 71, is getting defensive about an article published in last week's issue of The Stranger. His ex-wife alleged in court records that Stickney beat her and stole things from her and her son, the piece explains. So on the website for his organization, Washington Values Alliance, Stickney writes a letter about the attacks by the liberal media (that's us) and the gays (that's me):
Having recently celebrated my 10th wedding anniversery [sic], I had (pleasantly) almost forgotten some of the personal failures I encountered in life prior to giving my total commitment to follow Jesus Christ. This past week I was reminded of some of those failures by some of the media folks because of my involvement with Referendum 71 and Protect Marriage Washington.
The attacks on my character have served to solidify my resolve and to remind me (after some self reflection) as to why I took up this battle in the first place. [...]
Divorced moms and dads feel the hurt of their children when they see the devastation wrought by their divorce as there are few things in life more difficult to endure than the split of a family.
We don't tell reformed alcoholics, drug users, gamblers, those who have had abortions or others that have made big mistakes that they are can no longer be involved in the public debate and that they cannot warn others to not make the same mistakes they once did. On the contrary! We need to listen to those who have suffered through a divorce and now speak out in favor of genuine marriage and families as many divorcees understand all too well the problems that ensue when the ageless standard of genuine marriage is broken. [...]
As a divorced and remarried man, I refuse to have the gay activists and liberal media folks tell me that I can no longer participate in the public square. I will continue to warn my fellow citizens and to defend my children from the harmful teachings about same-sex marriage and the homosexual lifestyle that the radical gay lobby is forcing into school curriculums [sic] everywhere.
In a martyr moment, Stickney is essentially writing, "The gays have stuffed a cock in my mouth and now I can't speak in the public square!" But nobody is saying Stickney can't participate in the public square; we're saying that spotlighting his (heterosexual) divorces are fair game when he's arguing that all marriages need to succeed are a man and a woman. And his excuse—I sinned so I know all about purity—is also fair game for vivisection.
First, in linking divorce to gambling, Stickney claims that there's no better person to teach fiscal responsibility than a former compulsive spender. But you know who else makes a better role model for frugality? Someone who avoided blowing their life savings on bullshit in the first place. Same goes for marriage mentors. No reasonable person would seek marriage counseling from a twice-divorced, alleged wife beater.
But let's go along with Stickney's central point of logic: He says that suffering through divorce—seeing the impact on his kids—taught him that marriage must be preserved. If Stickney's interest was in preserving marriages that risk the same ill fate that his did—after all, that's where his expertise lies—then he'd be trying to repair couples' relationships who are on the brink of divorce. Rather, his crusade is one to stop gay people from receiving domestic partnership benefits (or marrying), which is something he has zero experience with. His crusade isn't about marriage, it's about his hatred of gay people. So Stickney can holler in the public square, but the liberal press will call him a bigot while he does it. But how long until the mainstream media calls out Stickney's hypocritical past and transparent motivations?