Take the Governor of New Jersey, James McGreevey... sorry, that's James E. McGreevey... who made this remarkable announcement on Thursday:
Throughout my life, I have grappled with my own identity, who I am. As a young child, I often felt ambivalent about myself, in fact, confused.
And so my truth is that I am a gay American.
What a remarkable, awe-inspiring moment, that a man can come out and say something like this. The sort of moment that gives you hope and a tinge of pride. Until you hear the punchline:
Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign.
The affair in question was an extra-marital gay affair, no worse than Clinton, but the fact that it was gay meant the Governorship was beyond him. Why? Surely, we - collectively - have moved on to the point where we are largely ambivilent about a person's private life, and can respect their abilities to do the job. Coverage after the fact suggested that McGreevey had no choice but to call it quits after he came out, and even Democrats have referred to McGreevey's 'disease'. Statistically, it would be remarkable if there weren't a couple of gay Governors, so no surpise there, but the necessity of a resignation? Surprising and sad. I guess you can be a state Governor if you're a nutty bald wrestler or a sychophantic Hollywood star, but you can't be gay? I'm genuinely surprised.
Read the full text of McGreevey's speech , and some of the disappointing homophobic response.
(Hat tip to crikey.com.au for getting me onto the this fascinating little yarn... see crikey, it's not that hard, is it???)