Richard Kim on Jim McGreevey's missed chances: New York City in the late 1970s, still in the rush of gay liberation but before the AIDS crisis, was ripe with possibilities both personal and political (if not exactly electoral) for men like him. And yet, of all the memories that gay men could recount of those days, his are surely the most pitiable: "All I did in college, literally, was just work. Columbia was a blur of studying." During the late 1980s, while AIDS struck thousands of gay men and the FDA dragged its feet, McGreevey was working as a lobbyist for Merck Pharmaceuticals. He might have acted up then, but he did not. As the early 1990s culture wars saw waves of vicious right-wing assaults on gays and lesbians--and Congressmen like Barney Frank and Gerry Studds spoke out as openly gay men--Mr. McGreevey, then a local politician with far less at stake, had another opportunity to wed the personal and political, but he did not. Not during the Texas sodomy case, the Massachusetts gay marriage decision, President Bush's call for a federal marriage amendment or even New Jersey's own recent debate over domestic partnership benefits did McGreevey choose to step forward. Instead, the moment chose him. As Kim argues, it's deeply unfortunate that McGreevey waited until finding himself on the cusp of being outed to come out, and that in so doing he allowed homosexuality, adultery, and corruption to be conflated once more in the public mind, and offered cover to those who hate him because he's gay and in power to phrase their concerns in terms of good government. Better late than never though. And better McGreevey political and maritial impropriety than the rank hypocrisy of the self-appointed arbiters of virtue who point to him as a cautionary tale against the "gay agenda" while working to strengthen the very forces which make it so difficult for men and women in McGreevey's situation to make the choices Kim and so many of us wish they had.


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