Governor McGreevey’s Secret(s)
If you’re like me, you were surprised when you heard that New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey had suddenly resigned from office yesterday, dramatically doing so by coming out to the residents of his state as a gay man and saying that he could no longer hold office because he had broken the covenant of his marriage by cheating on his wife with another man.
I mean, I don’t want to minimize the pain that must have caused Mrs. McGreevey, or the damage it did to their relationship. But honestly, what does it have to do with his ability to be Governor, other than all being a bit embarrassing? Surely he could have continued to do his job after revealing his sexual preference and getting his personal life in order. It didn’t make much sense.
When he made his announcement, he did so with a speech (you can watch it at the MSNBC link above) that was very moving, too. So you left the whole thing thinking, well, maybe the guy means it — maybe he really does honestly think that someone who would cheat on his wife with another man isn’t fit to be the governor of New Jersey.
Now, though, we’re getting more details that, sadly, make a little more sense in today’s cynical world:
The governor’s announcement was reportedly driven by the threat of a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former aide, Golan Cipel. Mr. McGreevey, who has two children from his two marriages and whose wife stood next to him during his press conference, acknowledged that he had committed adultery with another man. He did not say that the man in question had worked for his administration.
Gay or straight, that kind of relationship raises troubling questions, apart from the issue of whether it was consensual. Mr. Cipel was originally appointed as the governor’s homeland security adviser, a job for which he had no discernable qualifications. If Mr. McGreevey put someone in that critical post because of a personal relationship, that would be an outrage, regardless of his sexual orientation.
If Jim McGreevey is honestly leaving his office because he feels that he can’t uphold its standards, he has my deepest sympathy. But if he is using his sexuality to try and avoid punishment for abusing that office, he has nothing but my utter contempt.