updated 3/17/2007 3:29:25 PM ET 2007-03-17T19:29:25

Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who resigned after revealing that he was gay, says culture is outpacing politics in the acceptance of people who are gay.

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McGreevey, who is in Santa Fe this weekend to speak at a fundraiser for the Human Rights Alliance, called his decision to come out “one of the most painful but honest decisions of my life.”

Even though the revelation of being gay can hurt family and friends, McGreevey said Friday that people must learn at an early age to be open about their sexuality.

“Hopefully, this generation will be the last generation of American youth that has to choose between their heart and their career, between love and acceptance,” he said.

McGreevey also addressed comments made earlier this week by the Pentagon’s top general. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, remarked that homosexual acts are immoral and said the military should not condone homosexuality by allowing gay personnel to serve openly.

“Gen. Pace’s remarks were so terribly unfortunate, not only because that’s what he believes but the notion that don’t ask, don’t tell actually encourages people to be less than honest, less than open, less than transparent,” McGreevey said.

On Thursday, Gov. Bill Richardson—who is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination—also criticized the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

McGreevey, also a Democrat, called Richardson a “progressive voice.”

Asked if he was endorsing Richardson’s bid for the presidency, he said it’s “too early in process.”

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