Texas State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R) apologized Wednesday after the Texas Observer published a 2008 quote from an online post in which the lawmaker joked that nothing a husband does to his wife could possibly be rape.
The rape “joke,” accompanied by a yellow smiley emoticon giving a thumbs-up sign, was : “Rape is non existent in marriage, take what you want my friend!”
Stickland told the publication that he ““severely regrets” the comments now. “I do not feel that way today. I can only repent and ask for forgiveness from the people it offended and hurt. Rape is serious and should never be joked about the way that I did regardless of my age,” he explained. Stickland’s official biography indicates that he is now 32 years old.
Stickland, who calls himself a “proven conservative,” says on his website that the “family is the foundation of society and I believe it is under attack. As our government continues to extend itself into our lives, it is our families that pay the price. We can strengthen the families of this great state by returning to the idea of personal responsibility and accountability.” He also notes his belief that marriage is only “between a man, a woman, and God,” and boasts of co-authoring an unconstitutional measure, just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court landmark marriage equality ruling, that would have prohibited Texas state and local governments from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In 2013, Stickland proposed a special tax credit to reward Hobby Lobby and other companies that incurred a federal fine for refusing to provide copay-free contraception based on a claim of religious objection.
In 1990, Texas GOP gubernatorial nominee Clayton Williams Jr. also came under fire for “joking” about rape. At a cattle roundup on his Texas ranch, the wealthy oil and gas tycoon told ranch hands, campaign workers, and reporters that bad weather was like rape: “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” After this was reported, Williams lost his double-digit lead in the polls and, ultimately, the election.