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McGreevey Says He's Counseled Closeted Politicians

McGreevey Says He's Counseled Closeted Politicians

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lucasgrindley

Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey lauded the impact of coming out on society during an interview on CNN Monday and said he's spoken with closeted elected officials about its importance.

"I've talked to individuals, but I am not so presumptuous as to say you should come out, you should not come out," he told host Eliot Spitzer. "Every individual has his or her own journey, and I respect that."

McGreevey attributed advances in gay civil rights to the work of activists and to the eradication of "shame" in new generations. He said being openly gay has an effect "both in terms of culturally and on television programming."

"As people become more and more public, they come out of the closet, you understand a nephew, a son, a father is gay, a mother. And that begins to make it very personal," said McGreevey, who came out of the closet and resigned from office in the same speech in 2004. "People have a personal connection with someone who is a member of the LGBT community and it profoundly changes the dynamic."

Spitzer, a former New York governor, quickly agreed that a "connection" could lead to a sudden revelation that "my preconceived views have to be wrong."

Whenever gay marriage is legalized in New Jersey, where McGreevey still lives with his partner, he plans to get married. McGreevey said that day is inevitable despite the state's current Republican governor, Chris Christie, saying he wouldn't sign it into law.

McGreevey said he long ago "could not have predicted" recent advances, such as gay marriage passing in New York, but "neither would I have thought that we would have an African-American as president of the United States."

Minds change over time, and polls are evidence of that, he said.

"One thing I think so many of us believe in is the basic decency of the American people," said McGreevey. "And that in the narrative of civil liberties expansion, the American public is typically ahead of the political class."

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Lucas Grindley

Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.
Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.