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August 12, 2004

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I am a gay American! When can I start my political career. Ok, I'd probably make an awful politician for the same reason I hate litigation. I hate having to pretend one thing while believing another.

When can I start my political career.

That depends. As a Republican or a Democrat? ;-)

here's a link to his speech.

Yet, from my early days in school, until the present day, I acknowledged some feelings, a certain sense that separated me from others. But because of my resolve, and also thinking that I was doing the right thing, I forced what I thought was an acceptable reality onto myself, a reality which is layered and layered with all the, quote, good things, and all the, quote, right things of typical adolescent and adult behavior.

Yet, at my most reflective, maybe even spiritual level, there were points in my life when I began to question what an acceptable reality really meant for me. Were there realities from which I was running?

Which master was I trying to serve?

I do not believe that God tortures any person simply for its own sake. I believe that God enables all things to work for the greater good. And this, the 47th year of my life, is arguably too late to have this discussion. But it is here, and it is now.

At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is.

And so my truth is that I am a gay American. And I am blessed to live in the greatest nation with the tradition of civil liberties, the greatest tradition of civil liberties in the world, in a country which provides so much to its people.


Seems to me the extended reprise on the liberties of sweet, sweet America and his newfound flowering of gayness is sort of a distraction from the fact that he had an affair, which it seems would cause the larger political damage.

God knows why either matter, of course. But that's how it is.

Seems to me the extended reprise on the liberties of sweet, sweet America and his newfound flowering of gayness is sort of a distraction from the fact that he had an affair, which it seems would cause the larger political damage.

Absolutely. I really want to cheer for him in this speech. It was bold as hell, but there's something a bit creepy about the fact that his tone (if not the words) suggest there's no victim but himself here.

A lot more and higher ranking politicians have had affairs and survived than come out of the closet while in office (though there are a few). But NJ is a fairly socially liberal place, as this country goes.

I assume you all saw, but, in further gay-related news, the California Supreme Court voided the SF marriages. Sorry, guys.

I'm in awe, appalled, and thinking McGreevey may actually be able to come back from this.

Before projecting, I would wait for the other baggage to appear. That is, I don't believe that he resigned because he had an affair or because he is gay.

"That depends. As a Republican or a Democrat? ;-)"

Sigh. I think I should start my own party. To say that my views are unwelcome in the Democratic Party is well a complete understatement. To say that many Republicans wouldn't be thrilled with me being gay is, well a complete understatement.

That is, I don't believe that he resigned because he had an affair or because he is gay.

What do you suspect it was, then?

Sebastian, I have serious hopes that after Bush crashes and burns in November, the Republican party will realize that in order to get re-elected, they have to have a major rethink about who they are. And I hope that it would mean a national conservative party in America that wasn't locked into supporting a lot of racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-science policies as a matter of course.

I know this could read like a taunt. But I don't mean it that way. The worst thing that could happen to the Republican party would be to let Kerry's victory in November spill over into the kind of partisan nastiness that marred Clinton's terms - for the Republicans to believe that somehow they didn't deserve to lose the Presidential election.

Yes, yes, I already know that there are a bunch of people on this site who disagree with me (and a whole bunch more who hope but who think I'm being too optimistic in advance of the election!) but just take it as read for the moment that Bush is going to lose (I promise not to hold you to it in other threads).

Bush is going to lose, and furthermore, he and Cheney will deserve to lose. Insofar as Republicans have supported the Bush/Cheney administration solely because they are Republican, even knowing their incompetence and dishonesty, the Republican party deserves a long term out of power: time to think, to shed the decades of deadwood, to restructure. To quit being the party of straight white men.

The Democrats have been able to take for granted the support of gays, women, and black people - overlapping groups - because it's a simple fact: however bad the Democrats are, the Republicans are worse, unless you're straight, white, and male. (Exceptions to all these, yes: I'm talking demographically rather than about individuals.)

This is a bad thing for all these groups in the US. It would be a good thing if the Republican party were to change so radically that black and gay and women voters could consider supporting it. But it won't happen so long as Republicans believe they deserve to be in power, and that Bush didn't deserve to lose the 2004 election. (It would be nice if Republicans would admit that Bush also lost the 2000 election, but I'll blame that one on the media's shoddy reporting.)

'Tho I can understand why stigma causes Gay folks stay in the closet & even marry (the opposite sex), I'm a bit disgusted with the affair. Clearly, he realized he was gay a very long time ago. Even if he entered into the marriage in denial, he could have gotten a quiet divorce long long ago. He need not wait until he was caught having an affair.*

von

*I'll grant that he and his wife may have an understanding, but I'd bet not.

'Tho I can understand why stigma causes Gay folks stay in the closet & even marry (the opposite sex), I'm a bit disgusted with the affair.

His wife is the primary victim here clearly. It remains to be seen if his love interest was also a victim.

McGreevey smiled a touch too much (and oddly) when he said "However, I'm required to do now, to do what is right to correct the consequences of my actions and to be truthful to my loved ones, to my friends and my family and also to myself."

That last bit...it was weird. I'm sure the announcement was a huge weight off his shoulders and I shouldn't judge so harshly, but his wife was standing right there.

For the record, however, wider acceptance of gays and nationally legal gay marriage would go a long way toward making such fraudulent marriages unnecessary.

So far as I can tell, he could have survived politically with being gay, and probably with the affair. It was putting a lover without qualifications in the job of being in charge of state anti-terrorism efforts (who wasn't a citizen), and then putting him in two more state jobs (after the Feds wouldn't talk to him because of lack of citizenship), and then getting him a fourth job that was a conflict of interest, and now being about to be sued for sexual harassment by said lover.

That kinda thing is hard so survive politically and has squat to do with sexuality.

Oh, if you're wondering where I have information from, I refer you to Jeff Jarvis's buzzmachine.com

What do you suspect it was, then?

Well according to WABC, the NYC ABC TV affiliate, it was a sexual harassment suit to be filed by Golan Cipel along with some financial shenanigans regarding the rezoning of farm property.

It would be nice if Republicans would admit that Bush also lost the 2000 election, but I'll blame that one on the media's shoddy reporting.

So a lie would make you feel better.

I have to admit to being tone-deaf on this issue. I just can't figure out why I (or the citizens of the state of New Jersey) should care what Mr. McGreevey's sexual orientation is.

Ok, so I agree that McGreevey looks to be guilty of any number of scandal worthy indiscretions having to do with his man Cipel.

But this notion that a prominent politician could survive an admission of homosexuality, where does that come from? How many openly gay governors are there? How many have there ever been? Openly gay Senators? Cabinet officers? Supreme Court Justices? Federal judges?

I want to believe that there are others, but the only prominent gay political figure I can think of is Barney Frank.

Face facts. We're a nation of bigots.

Face facts. We're a nation of bigots.

Maybe yes, maybe no, but the question is New Jersey full of bigots. Having said that, the McGreevey story has a lot more twists than just his sexual orientation.

I don't know if the guy pressing charges is the same guy who couldn't pass muster or couldn't be competent but after essentially being given four jobs...to sue for sexual harassment?
Gay or not I don't care, I say complete ingrate.
Otherwise, a word of advice to everyone, being your sideline squeeze is not much of a job qualification for anyone other than Wilbur Mills.

My mistake, I meant Wayne Hays above.

"I can't type, I can't file, I can't even answer the phone," Elizabeth Ray tells the Washington Post. "Supposedly, I'm on the oversight committee," she said. "But I call it the Out-of-Sight Committee." Hays is 64; Ray is 27.

You mean "being your sideline squeeze is not much of a job qualification for anyone other" than McGreevey, right?

zwichenzug
Look to Paul Patton of Kentucky for a similar scandal. Governor. Not gay though. Political career caput.
McGready though may still rise from the ashes. The man can speak. He was almost Clintonesque in his abilities at that press conference.

This has NOTHING to do with McGreevy being gay. He hired his unqualified lover into a SECURITY position in a time of WAR! The citizens of new Jersey should tar and feather him. He's trying to get out of that underlying corruption by playing the sexuality card.His speech was out and out fraudelent!

He's DOA and will not make it until November 15. He'll have his bags packed by Monday morning. Next step I hope is prosecution for abuse of office and corruption.

typo (it's late) McGreevey above.

McGready not a play on words, I was looking for the second act. :)

Wire stories now say that Cipel threatened to file this sexual harassment suit unless paid $5 million. So, it would seem less likely that McGreevey is actually guilty of sexual harassment, but the appointment of Cipel seems that much worse.

From a wire story:

Among the other openly gay politicians who have come out while in office are Republican Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe, who announced he is gay in a public statement in 1996, Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, who acknowledged he is gay in an interview with The Boston Globe in 1987, former Maryland congressman Robert Bauman, who was defeated after eight years in Congress in 1980 after acknowledging he had "homosexual tendencies," and former Democratic Rep. Gerry Studds of Massachusetts, who acknowledged he was gay after revelations in 1983 that he had had a homosexual relationship with a congressional page.

I did not know about Kolbe. That's heartening; Arizona is not Massachusetts. Tammy Baldwin, Congresswoman of Wisconsin, I believe is openly lesbian. Cheryl Jacques, a former state senator from Massachusetts, came out in office, was reelected easily and then left to head human rights campaign. Jarrett Barrios (state senator) and Liz Malia (state rep.) of Mass. are also openly gay. It changed the tone of the same sex marriage debate at the state house in Massachusetts--very little open prejudice--but not the result. It doesn't seem to have done similar in Congress. I guess Marilyn Musgrave doesn't ever really need to look Frank, Kolbe or Baldwin in the eye.

I would bet McGreevey's wife knew. I wonder about his kids. Someone said they were teenagers. That can't be fun, to have your dad come out on national television.

I know the right thing to do is to get divorced and then have a gay relationship, but I would guess it rarely happens that way in practice. If you're in that deep denial, presumably it takes a lot to get you out of it. So I am more sympathetic to this kind of affair than a Gingrich or Clinton's.

Hiring your unqualified lover to a homeland security post would be a very different, and far less forgivable, thing. If this speech was a cynical attempt to play the gay card to arouse the sympathy of liberal voters....I resent it. But it worked on me, and I don't think it's that cynical. My guess is McGreevey's sexuality is deeply entwined with whatever happened. That is not to say he's not responsible for his actions, whatever they were.

There are so many real dangers and wrenching questions facing this country right now. Gay rights is not one of them. People should not be made to feel they need to live a lie--and people still do. Not only politicians, either, nor only people over 40, nor only in the red states.

Tammy Baldwin, Congresswoman of Wisconsin, I believe is openly lesbian.

Yep. She's my representative.

This morning while getting coffee, I saw the USA Today headline, "Gay Affair Rocks NJ Statehouse." I remarked to my wife, "Isn't it sad that in 2004, it couldn't just say 'Extramarital Affair?'" She replied, "Probably a plain old affair wouldn't 'rock the statehouse much." Sadly, she was right.

i know he has a couple of kids and one was an infant in his arms at his inauguration two years ago. I also heard on the news he was married twice. Many New Jersians knew he was gay. I had heard the rumors over a year ago and i live in NYC. Even my sister-in-law there knew it because of a state trooper she knows. it was evidently not much of a secret. And people who worked in NJ politics are now admitting they knew it also. I couldn't care less about that but i am disappointed about McGreevy getting his boyfriend a series of jobs that he wasn't qualified for.That kind of behavior irks me on both sides of the aisle.

by the way, here is the Newsday article on the boyfriends jobs.

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-usgola0813,0,391015.story?coll=ny-nynews-headlines

thanks for the link Wilfred.

It's really too bad, because it sounds like there's an excellent chance he could have been reelected despite his sexuality. (I think it's less likely that he would have become governor if he was openly gay all along.)

I wonder what effect this will have on the debate on gay rights in general, if any. Obviously the circumstances are very bad. (My current fear is that Cipel blackmailed his way into the first job too, which is an opening for the old lie about gay people being a security risk.)

And yet...any time this issue is personalized, it seems to make anti-gay-rights people stammer awkwardly, and make pro-gay-rights people want to fight harder. (At least, it does for straight pro-gay-rights people who still don't entirely "get it", like me.) It happened in San Francisco--they wanted the debate to be about activist judges and rogue mayors, not the people waiting on line in the rain.

It happened, as I said before, in the Massachusetts state house. One state representative came out at the state house. Another got up there and said: if this amendment passes, and I die, I don't know what will happen to my partner of 30 years. A third described trying to see his kid in the hospital running a 104 fever, and being denied admission because the boy was adopted in his partner's name. All said, basically: don't do this to my family. And they all got standing ovations, and their colleagues were moved to tears.

And then those colleagues proceeded to vote for the constitutional amendment anyway. So it's not like it's a cure all, and McGreevey's case is farmessier than the couples in San Francisco or the Mass state reps. They'd done nothing wrong; he has. But I think it at least mitigates the harm.

I did not know about Kolbe.

Really? There was a bit of political theater involving Jim Kolbe during the 2000 Republican convention. He was chosen to speak on free trade issues and several members of the Texas delegation removed their hats and bowed their heads in prayer for the duration of his speech in protest of having an openly gay person speaking (even though he mentioned nothing even remotely gay-related); and one of them even held up a sign during his speech urging him to renounce his homosexuality.

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