PROVO — Glenn Way's sudden resignation from his Utah House seat because of a "personal matter" took many political watchers by surprise.
Now, court documents show the Spanish Fork Republican's resignation Friday came a day after his wife was granted a restraining order against him.
Contacted Wednesday by the Deseret News, Way acknowledged that his resignation was directly related to his marital problems.
"I'm not going to confirm or deny anything she wrote in that petition for a protective order," Way said. "I'm not a perfect husband, I've done some things and said some things I shouldn't have."
Last June, Way lost the Republican primary for District 66, and was expected to leave office in January.
A petition for a protective order filed by Way's wife accuses him of fits of anger, threats of violence, verbal abuse and foul language in front of the couple's five children. The petition says the 36-year-old legislator threatened her life, threw a basket at her and hit her.
"I'm afraid of him and his anger," she wrote. "I don't want him to scare me or the children."
A ruling signed Thursday by 4th District Judge Lynn Davis orders the legislator to stay away from his residence, his children's schools and his wife until a hearing set for Sept. 24.
Shelina Way could not be reached for comment. But her petition alleges that Way inflicted hourlong tirades on his family.
"He has sat the children down with me there and yelled a good hour to them and me about how much of a f------ b---- I was because I didn't want to be married to him anymore."
Way said his wife resented the time he spent at the Legislature. First elected in 1996, Way served on the Judiciary and Health and Human Services committees, as well as two appropriations subcommittees. In 2001 Way led efforts to combat Internet porn, and in 1999 he sponsored a bill to fight the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument designation.
Shelina Way's petition accuses her husband of punching a hole in the garage wall and says he was arrested and charged with "hitting my brother-in-law several times" in 1992 in Washington state.
Way admitted to being arrested and charged but said prosecutors did not press charges. Ways says he hit the man for battering his wife.
"I said, 'You think you're so tough hitting your wife,' and so I slapped him, and I said, 'Oh, that felt good,' and I slapped him again," Way said.
Way says he now hopes to pick up the pieces and try to salvage his 13-year marriage.
"I didn't know I had some significant problems with my marriage until Thursday," he said. "I had no clue that she was contemplating anything like this. Our anniversary was days before, and we had a great time."
He said that he and his wife had already started meeting with their LDS Church bishop to work things out.
Some of the stress in his marriage may have been brought on by financial problems. Way declared personal bankruptcy in 1998, citing a business failure and unexpected medical bills for a newborn child. Media coverage of the bankruptcy "humiliated" his wife and caused stress to his family, he said.
As for public office, "I don't know if I'll run for any elected office ever, ever again," he said.
Way's tenure in the Legislature has also included some verbal scraps. A noted conservative, Way has blasted Gov. Mike Leavitt (he once made a motion to deny Leavitt a scheduled pay raise because the governor had upset conservatives), Democratic colleagues and even fellow Republicans.
Several times following heated debates Way apologized to the House for some of his comments, saying he didn't mean to disparage fellow legislators or groups. In the 2002 Legislature, Way castigated Chad Harris, public education fiscal analyst for the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, calling his budget presentation a "load of crap" and blaming analysts for lawmakers' budget-cutting mode. Education budget subcommittee co-chairwoman Marda Dillree, R-Farmington, quickly denounced Way's behavior.
Way has had other troubles. He was cited early in his six-year tenure for building a deck without a contractor's license. Way said he was building it for free for a friend and didn't need a license. He eventually paid the $600 fine, but his first check bounced.
He didn't intend to run for re-election this year. A member of the Legislature's redistricting committee, Way and other Utah County House members redrew House seat lines in the county, placing Way and Rep. Matt Throckmorton, R-Springville, in the same district. Way had planned to retire from the House and perhaps run for the Utah County Commission this year. But Throckmorton, after redistricting was adopted last fall, filed to run against U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah.
Way then changed his mind and ran in the new combined district. But only a few of Way's old Spanish Fork constituents were in the new district, and he lost the primary election to fellow Republican Calvin Bird, a former Springville city councilman. Way said he lost because most of the voters were from Springville, Bird's home, and not Spanish Fork.
Contributing: Bob Bernick Jr.