His wife at his side, McGreevey told reporters in Trenton he had struggled with his identity and sexuality since he was a student. Despite two marriages and two children, the 47-year-old Democrat said in the end he realized he was homosexual.
“My truth is that I am a gay American,” he said.
But he said he had allowed himself to become involved in an adulterous homosexual affair, an act that violated his marriage vows and prompted his resignation.
“Shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affairs with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony,” he said. “It was wrong, it was foolish, it was inexcusable.”
McGreevey said he felt the affair and his homosexuality would leave the governor’s office vulnerable to “rumors” and instead he felt he should openly admit both.
He said his resignation is set to take effect November 15. He said the time would allow the state to plan the transition, but coming after the Nov. 2 election, it also means the state’s Senate President Richard Cooley, also a Democrat, would serve the remainder of McGreevey’s term.
The Democrat was elected in 2001, but had seen his popularity take a beating as allegations of improper fundraising swirled around aides and the state struggled to overcome a $5 billion shortfall inherited from former governor Republican Christine Todd Whitman.
Born in Jersey City in 1957, McGreevey attended college at Columbia University and later earned a law degree from Georgetown University. He also has a master’s degree in education from Harvard University.
He was elected to the state legislature in 1990 and later to the state senate. He was also elected mayor of Woodbridge, N.J. in 1991, a position he held until his election in 2001.
The New Jersey Democrat is the second governor to resign in recent weeks. In June, Republican John Rowland, Connecticut’s governor, stepped down amid an ongoing corruption investigation and threats of impeachment.