Uh, Captain, I don't think we should land on that planet.
IllinoisLeader.com plans to sue for Kerry divorce records
Friday, June 25, 2004
CHICAGO - This afternoon, Leader Media President Dan Proft announced that IllinoisLeader.com plans to file suit to obtain Massachusetts' Senator John Kerry's, the presumptive Democrat nominee for President, sealed divorce records from his first marriage to Julia Thorne which was later annulled.
"The Chicago Tribune and a Los Angeles Family Court judge have established a new standard for the release of marital and custodial documents," said Proft referring to the recent Jack Ryan decision. "Okay, then everyone in the public arena needs to be held to that standard. John Kerry is the start, but there will be others we will seek to hold to this new standard."
Proft was a paid staffer for the Jack Ryan for US Senate campaign in Illinois. Ryan announced today that he would be withdrawing from the race.
Developing story . . .
Uh, OK. If this even gets off the ground, I don't think it's going to get very far. It certainly isn't going to get much public sympathy. Julia Stinson Thorne is a very private person and supports her husband's candidacy. I'll bet the records were sealed because they would dredge up a bad time in her life.
I've looked for more information on the details of that first divorce, and can't find anything much, except for an old Usenet post that in turn links to a deleted Hesiod entry. I'm not sure what that's about.
I've continued looking, and I found this yadda-yadda-yadda on a blog with a major agenda:
MORE SLEAZE: The sickening, scumbags, and "crooked liars" of the rightwing attack establishment are also going after John Kerry over the breakup of his first marriage to Julia Thorne. One of the "crooked liars" calls it "John Kerry's New Gingrich Problem." They argue that Kerry dumped his wife due to political ambition, in the midst of her
The truth, of course, is 180 degrees from what the "crooked liars" say it is.
According to Julia, herself:
[t]wo years after her first suicide attempt (in 1980), she separated from Kerry "because I had to be on my own. I had to force myself to be my own person, to call my own shots. My choice was not to do this within my marriage. It was very hurtful to John. But at that time I was not thinking rationally. I was all emotion."
March 8, 1994, Boston Globe. Kerry did not actually divorce his wife until 1988, although they remained separated for that entire period.
Later, he sought an annulment so he could re-marry Teresa Heinz. Ms. Thorne thought it was "disrespectful," but still supported her husband, and did not contest it. She believed it did not comport with Church doctrine.
UPDATE: More details from the Washington Times:
"Julia Th0rne says she sees no need to contest her ex-husband's request because she does not recognize the validity of the church proceeding.
Mrs. Thorne says she still supports Mr. Kerry politically and is glad he is happy in his new marriage to Heinz food fortune heiress Teresa Heinz.
But Mrs. Thorne, an Episcopalian, said the church's approach to the issue "was disrespectful to me . . . and devoid of any sense of the humanity of what this means to me and the children."
Washington Times, April 11, 1997.
So, she called the CHURCH "disrespectful," not John Kerry.
UPDATE: Even more details from an April 10, 1997 story in the Patriot Ledger:
"[Julia] Thorne said she does not think she needs to contest Kerry's request for an annulment because she does not recognize the validity of the proceeding, and wants to allow Kerry and Heinz to participate fully in church practices."
So, I went looking for the original article from the Patriot Ledger. I don't know if the archive was wacky, or if I did something wrong, but I couldn't pull up the 1997 article. The latest date I could get was 2000. If you can grab this article, please post it.
It sounds as though Julia didn't contest the annulment, and that, in fact, it was granted. How else to explain the "participate fully in church practices" comment?
Also, Andrew Sullivan asserts that the annulment was granted, but I think it's from a weird source: The Washington Blade.
So it sounds as though Julia Thorne may have suffered from depression for a long time--probably long before there was widespread awareness and a reduction in its stigma quotient. She's written openly about her depression since, and I think I'll try to read her book to see what she has to say on the subject. But I think, just like Kerry's military records, this is going to go nowhere, and if the Illinois Leader insists on pursuing it, I think they're going to end up with even more egg on their face. Folks, I think, for your own good, you should quit while you're behind.