I cheated on my wife with a man, admits governor as he quits

The governor of New Jersey, James McGreevey, sent shockwaves across the political landscape of America last night by abruptly announcing his intention to resign because, he said, he was a "gay American".

The Democrat, who was elected to lead one of America's most populous and politically important states two and a half years ago, made his astonishing public confession before a packed room of journalists and a live television audience with his wife at his side. His resignation would take effect from 15 November, he said.

"Shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affairs with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony," the Governor, who has two children with his wife, declared. "It was wrong. It was foolish. It was inexcusable." He added: "My truth is I am a gay American." Mr McGreevey, whose tenure had already been overshadowed by corruption scandals, one involving his own chief of staff and another his most prolific campaign contributor, suggested that he had decided to leave office because of a risk that the extramarital affair could diminish his ability to govern. He noted that a sexual harassment lawsuit was pending against him, but offered no details.

"I am removing these threats by telling you about my sexuality," he said. Reports said the Governor was expecting to be hit by a sexual harassment suit from a former aide, who had acted as his security advisor until 2002 when he resigned.

The drama in Trenton, the state capital, comes at a time when gay rights are already in the spotlight in this year's presidential contest. President George Bush has supported an amendment to the US Constitution to make it illegal for gay men and lesbians to marry. Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, is opposed to gay marriage but does not support amending the Constitution for it.

The predicament faced by Mr McGreevey - as well as by his wife, Dina Matos McGreevey - is certain to fan the flames of that debate. Massachusetts earlier this summer became the first state to allow gays and lesbians to receive a state marriage license.

Mr McGreevey, who succeeded Republican Christie Todd Whitman in the governor's mansion, is the second US governor to resign in recent months. In June, John Rowland, the former governor of Connecticut, stepped aside amid an inquiry into favours given to him by beneficiaries of state contracts.

Mr McGreevey said he had "grappled" with his own identity for a long time, referring to a "certain sense that separated me from others.". The doubts, he said, had been there since he was a child. Asking for his family's forgiveness, he added: "This is an intensely personal decision and not one typically for the public domain. Yet, it cannot and should not pass."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high