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.”
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
“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.