The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Courageous or cowardly?

OP/ED
 Courageous or cowardly?
Courageous or cowardly?

Courageous or cowardly?

In a press conference last week that shocked everyone assembled,New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey, flanked by his wife andparents, announced that he was a “gay American.”

While most gays and lesbians have applauded his coming out, therevelation is, in fact, a double-edged sword.

No matter how much the gay political machine wants to paintMcGreevey as a hero, the truth remains that his decision to comeout was not voluntary as much as it was an offensive move to bufferthe pending announcement of a sexual harassment lawsuit by GolanCibel, the man with whom, according to McGreevey, he had engaged inan extra-marital affair.

No one had come prepared to hear such a personal revelation. Asit turned out, however, the governor delivered a grand slam: aresignation due to malfeasance related to an affair he was havingwith another man.

Still, though not surprising, national gay leaders areapplauding McGreevey’s announcement. Cheryl Jacques,president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largestlesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization,released the following statement, “coming out is a deeplypersonal journey and Governor McGreevey today showed enormouscourage…”

Also not surprising is that few if any gay groups have commentedon anything other than the coming-out aspect of the story. If thetruth be told, the only thing that could have pleased Jacques andthe HRC more would have been if McGreevey had waited until Oct. 11,the day in which the HRC sponsors National Coming Out Day.

The jury is still out, however, on how GovernorMcGreevey’s revelations will impact the gay marriage cause.Unfortunately, gays and lesbians have said little about theduplicity, cowardice, and selfishness that were involved in hisactions.

Lingering in the back of everyone’s mind, though, is thequestion, “would he have come out had there not been thethreat of exposure?”

Regardless, and in spite of the circumstances, the news isimportant if it serves to shed light on the reality that is onlystarting to come into focus for most Americans.

McGreevey’s coming out is important if only because hebecomes the highest-ranking political figure in American history toidentify himself publicly as gay.

As a result, straight Americans must now deal with a realitythat gays and lesbians have long known, namely that gays andlesbians exist at almost every level of the sociopoliticalsphere.

The revelation also serves to illustrate the innate hypocrisy ofdenying gays and lesbians the right to marry.

For all his faults in judgment, McGreevey has become the posterperson for every gay and lesbian who has sought the refuge ofstraight marriage in order to achieve lifelong goals, and, in theprocess, has been forced to stay in the closet in order to benefitfrom an institution whose definition needs expanding.

It is impossible to know if McGreevey would have succumbed tothe impulse to have an affair if he were heterosexual rather thanhomosexual.

What we do know is that if he had come out years ago, or ifsame-sex marriage existed when McGreevey first began to dream abouta life in politics, he would not be facing the insurmountablescandal he now faces.

 

George Henson is a lecturer of Spanish in the foreignlanguage department. He can be reached at [email protected].

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