Friday, August 13, 2004

The Governor falls 

A quick comment on New Jersey Democrat Governor James E. McGreevey's resignation following his announcement that he is a "gay American" who has had an extramarital affair with another man. According to McGreevey, he resigned his position to avoid being "vulnerable to rumors, false allegations and threats of disclosure."

It's a sad moment for McGreevey, but before he's turned into a martyr and a pre-emptive victim of American religious bigotry, let's remember that "gay American" or not, the Governor did not really resign because he was gay. McGreevey took the dive because:

1) he had an extramarital affair, which regardless of the gender of the other party, still rightly or wrongly seems to be a hanging political offence in the United States.

2) he exposed himself to charges of
hypocrisy by previously being opposed to gay marriage.

3) the lover, his former homeland security adviser
Golan Cipel (described as "a poetry-writing former Israeli Defense Force soldier'", has filed a sexual harassment suit against McGreevey. As Drudge writes, "McGreevey's office had called the FBI on Thursday and complained that lover [Cipel] had requested $5 million to quash the suit, which assistants to the governor saw as extortion." The local press is now also raising questions about McGreevey's role in appointing Cipel to the homeland security adviser position in the first place, despite Cipel apparently lacking the necessary qualifications for the job.

Sleazy? Yes, but it has nothing to do with homosexuality. Had Cipel been a woman my guess is that McGreevey would have had to resign too.


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