The Arizona Republic
Jul. 4, 2006 12:00 AM
Lynn Stanley, chairwoman of the Protect Marriage Arizona Coalition, died in a crash on Interstate 40 while returning to Phoenix from Las Vegas, where she was visiting two sisters.
A state Department of Public Safety official said Stanley, 58, was killed in a single-car rollover about 6:30 a.m. outside Seligman. Stanley was driving east when her car went into the median and she tried to correct but the car flipped several times, the official said.
"The only thing I know for sure is she's gone," said Cathi Herrod, a friend of Stanley's and interim president of the Center for Arizona Policy, which also supports the initiative.
Stanley's death cast a pall over what was to be a joyous time for the Protect Marriage coalition. The group collected roughly 300,000 signatures to place its measure on the November ballot, said Nathan Sproul, a political consultant for the effort. Amending the state Constitution, as the Protect Marriage coalition intends, requires at least 183,917 valid signatures.
The group planned to submit its petitions Wednesday, with Stanley on hand to celebrate the accomplishment. Her death has led the initiative to delay its submittal until Thursday, the deadline to turn in signatures.
Herrod acknowledged that t will be a "bittersweet" occasion. The two women had known each other for several years through their work on behalf of socially conservative issues. Stanley, a Scottsdale wife and mother of two, wasn't active in politics before the anti-gay marriage amendment.
"She was passionate on behalf of the family," Herrod said.
"We in the pro-family, pro-marriage movement have lost a true friend and champion. She'll be terribly missed."
In an opinion piece written for The Arizona Republic in 2005, Stanley said the intent of the ballot initiative is to preserve "the special status of marriage by enshrining the definition of marriage in the state Constitution and preventing any part of Arizona's government from undermining that definition by creating or recognizing marriage counterfeits."
Stanley was a wife of 38 years and longtime Arizona resident, daughter Tracie said. Stanley's husband, Fred, is a former major-league baseball player who played for the New York Yankees and other teams.
Lynn also was an artist and published author, and taught Bible study classes at Scottsdale Bible Church.
"She was just a good friend to everybody," Tracie said. "She loved my dad more than anything, and her kids."