Thursday, August 12, 2004

Whoa!!! NJ Governor Is Gay and Is Resigning 

This headline took me by surprise just now: N.J. Governor Resigns, Admits He Is Gay. According to the AP report, Gov. James E. McGreevey stated:
"My truth is that I am a gay American," he said. "Shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affairs with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony," the married father of two said. "It was wrong, it was foolish, it was inexcusable."
Apparently he felt that the secret of his affair and his closeted sexuality made his office vulnerable. His resignation will be effective November 15.

I can understand how he would feel that having these secrets would have made him and his office vulnerable, such as to potential blackmailers, but now that he has removed the secrecy, what is the vulnerability? I can also understand him being concerned that the issues could be used against him in any future elections. Is he concerned that the publicity around the disclosure would get in the way of his being an effective governor? Many politicians would have at least given it a shot. The AP article does mention that he has also been plagued by "several scandals involving fundraising." Is this stated reason for resigning a way of avoiding potential legal issues that might have come into play otherwise?

Here's the official Code of Conduct for the office of New Jersey Governor. I see nothing in there about his marital fidelity nor about his sexual orientation.

Oh, wait. This CNN report provides additional statements:
"Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign," McGreevey said.

Okay, perhaps he just feels that he's going to be going through so much in his personal life in the coming months that he wouldn't be able to give his best to the people of New Jersey. It still seems unusual to me that a fairly high ranking politician would resign over an affair. Would he have resigned if it had been a heterosexual affair? I'm concerned about the long-term effect of linking "coming out" with "resigned as governor."
UPDATE: The MSNBC report has a video of his announcement. Having now watched the actual announcement, I'm glad to see that the earlier reports somewhat mischaracterized his statement. He said that it was the keeping of the secrets which led to vulnerability, and that by removing the secrecy he was removing the vulnerability. His stated reason for resigning was as reported by CNN. I'm still concerned that the earlier report will be the one given more play, rather than his explicit statement that it's the hiding of the truth that leads to vulnerability. has posted a transcript of the announcement.

I realize this changes what I would have posted initially, but I'll leave the original post up as a reflection of my train of thought. No cover-ups here...

Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:11 PM