Former Gov. Jim McGreevey: American decency outpaces politicians
June 27th, 2011
10:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Former Gov. Jim McGreevey: American decency outpaces politicians

(CNN) - Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey said the "decency of the American people" is often ahead of political action while speaking about same-sex marriage during an interview on CNN's "In the Arena" Monday.

Though most elected officials "started in the same place – a marriage is between a man and a woman," McGreevey said politicians "understand that they're moving inevitably, catching up to the American public."

Included in that group of "politicians" are President Barack Obama and current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has been outspoken about pursuing civil unions over same-sex marriage in his state.

"I think 10 years ago what Gov. Christie said was the norm by Democrats and Republicans and I think that will change," McGreevey said. "I think Gov. Christie, or whoever's governor across this nation, they will catch up with the decency of the American public."

And of President Obama, the former governor stated in a reference to the first lady, "If only he would listen to Michelle more often." The president stopped short of using the term "marriage" while endorsing equal rights for same-sex couples at a fundraiser late Thursday, but affirmed, "I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every couple in this country."

Now that the state of New York has legalized same-sex marriage, McGreevey admitted that he, too, is tempted to get married - but will wait until it is legal in his home state.

"When it comes to New Jersey, which, I believe that inevitably it will, I think that time will come," he said.

McGreevey resigned halfway through his term as governor amid scandal in 2004 when he admitted to having an affair with a male aide while married. At the time, McGreevey stated, "My truth is that I am a gay American."

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed his state's marriage equality bill into law Saturday after it passed the Republican-controlled state Senate late Friday. New York is the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

CNN's "In the Arena" airs weeknights at 8 p.m. ET.

Filed under: New Jersey • New York • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. DC Johnny

    I don't know where to begin when confronted with a story citing Jim McGreevey as a lecturer of what's decent and proposing the guidelines of marriage. Decency and the sanctity of marriage – the last two things McGreevey should ever lecture on.

    June 27, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  2. Peter s

    The only rightful person to pass judgement oh people is our creator. He turned Saul the persecutor to Paul the preacher and defender of the word of christ. Having said that, I would say let God do his work!!

    June 27, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    While Christie is governor, McGreevey won't be able to marry a man in NJ. When Christie said that it is his values are the ones that guide the state, it showed that he doesn't care about the poor. This is like he doesn't approve of same sex marriage.

    June 27, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  4. Sylvia

    The right to visit your loved one / next of kin in a hospital is a natural civil right and I can accept that of couples regardless of orientation.

    I`d like to understand the original rationale for lower tax rates for married couples; so too would I like to understand auto insurance rationale.

    Perhaps married gays do not "deserve" lower tax rates if the original intent was to subsidize families with children. So there could be a ratinale explaination as to why gays could be married and not be "entitled" to benefits of heterosexuals.

    By their nature, gays are not able to join DNA with their loved one; they can not mate. Government incentives/ support to families with children support certain societal outcomes – the tax code is often used to encourage certain beneficial behaviors.

    The use of a surrogate mother or a sperm donor doesn`t rise to the same level of natural procreation – there is something unnaturally contrieved when a gay couple "has" a child. Adoptions by gays dont meet this societal deire for couples to procreate.

    None of this is rooted in denying gays rights, but if we take time to understand "why" we give certain benefits to married couples, maybe we would change laws – without being accused of being anti-gay.

    Ill bet we can`t have an intelligent conversation about these nuances.

    June 27, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |