Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey on Friday said that could not have envisioned Monday's start of gay marriage in New Jersey.

“I never would have envisioned this day,” McGreevey told The Star-Ledger. “And whether you agree with the decision, as do I, or you disagree, there is something very special about America and our state that this could happen. It's a testament to who we are as people that we can change opinions in an orderly, respectful manner, and God willing, to be better people for it.”

(Related: New Jersey gay couples prepare to say “I do.”)

McGreevey, who came out gay amid a sex scandal that ultimately forced him to resign as governor, did not support marriage equality while serving as governor.

However, in 2004, McGreevey signed the law creating domestic partnerships, which was challenged in court by gay rights groups. In response to a state Supreme Court ruling in the case, lawmakers established civil unions three years later. Two years ago the same plaintiff couples returned to court, arguing that civil unions had failed to provide protections equal to marriage. Their case was boosted in June when the Supreme Court knocked down a key provision of the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the federal government began recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.

“Most of us knew domestic partnerships at best were a stated aspiration as opposed to a clear matter of equity,” McGreevey said. “It was a difficult vote, frankly, even among Democrats.”

McGreevey called the progress “remarkable.”

“To envision in my lifetime an African American president and gay marriage is to really redefine that a sense of equity in America is possible,” he said.

The 56-year-old McGreevey has previously said that he wishes to marry boyfriend Mark O'Donnell in New Jersey, but he made no mention of wedding plans on Friday.