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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there