The former New Jersey governor, who resigned amid a gay sex scandal in 2004, joined Hardball to discuss the Supreme Court's hearings on gay marriage.
A former politician felled by his own gay-sex scandal believes that same-sex marriage is inevitable.
“Gay marriage is going to happen,” former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey said on Hardball on Wednesday. “This is a no-brainer.” He pointed to almost universal acceptance of the issue on college campuses.
The Democrat caused political chaos back in 2004 when he resigned, acknowledging an extramarital affair with another man.
Host Chris Matthews wondered if McGreevey were faced with the same situation today–with a greater acceptance of gay Americans–would he still feel he had to call it quits.
Polls show the acceptance of gay relations has changed dramatically from 2004, when McGreevey came out. Back then, 54% of Americans found gay relationships morally wrong and 42% found them acceptable. Today, those numbers have flipped.
Matthews asked McGreevey if he resigned because he was victimized by a society that’s prejudiced or if he felt that somehow he was culpable.
“All of the above,” the former lawmaker said. “I grew up in a loving, wonderful household but at the time, my church said homosexuality was an abomination, was worthy of condemnation,” adding as a young kid he remembered homosexuality being labeled in books as a psychiatric disorder. “You were afraid to come out. Being in the closet for me was the only rational response at that time in my life,” he said.
McGreevey’s latest remarks come as the Supreme Court hears two cases on gay marriage this week.
“What I would want as a gay person is full rights,” he said. “We don’t want a less-than marriage. When you’re born, you get a birth certificate. When I die I get a death certificate. I don’t want the state to impart a less-than status in a union between two persons.”
Matthews asked McGreevey why he married a woman in the first place if he knew he was gay. McGreevey and his wife, Dina Matos, divorced after he came out. (He currently lives with his partner, Australian businessman Mark O’Donnell).
“I think that I wanted to be straight,” said McGreevey. “I mean, if you believe at that time, which was unfortunately was so warped and corrosive, that being gay as morality is something that’s an abomination to nature, then you work hard” to be straight, he said.
McGreevey has since walked away from politics, documenting his new life in the HBO documentary “Fall to Grace,” which is being directed by Alexandra Pelosi—daughter of Nancy Pelosi. He has since attended the General Theological Seminary in New York, a step that could lead to the Episcopal priesthood; he also works with female prison inmates.
The documentary will debut later this month.