Gina Matos McGreevey, James McGreevey, Jack McGreevey; Photo: AP/Brian Branch-Price

Governor James McGreevey announced yesterday that he was stepping down as Governor of the Garden State yesterday in a press conference where he also announced that he was gay. With support from his ex-wife and current wife, McGreevey said he had his feelings since adolescence and that the truth was that he was "a gay American", that he "engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man", and that "given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign."

Some people question whether McGreevey stepped down for other reasons. The Governor's image has become tarnished in recent weeks when fundraisers of his were involved in a corruption scandal, and he pushed his top contributor, Charles Kushner, to run the Port Authority. Governor McGreevey was also questioned for hiring Golan Cipel as his special assistant on homeland security in 2002. Cipel, who had minimal experience in the field, was unable to attain security clearance because he was a foreign national.

Cipel, who may file a sexual harassment lawsuit today, is reported to be the reason that McGreevey made the announcement that he was gay yesterday. It is believed that McGreevey was alluding to his relationship with Cipel when he said, "I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man." Some reports have Cipel blackmailing McGreevey for $5 million to keep quiet about the affair.

During his announcement, he said he would step down on November 15th so he could "facilitate a responsible transition". Why so late? Because he is stepping down so late, he will pass the Governorship to fellow Democrat and State Senate president, Richard J. Codey. Without a special election, Codey will serve out the rest of Mcgreevey's term - through 2006. Govenor McGreevey is now the highest ranking gay official in the United States.

The full text of McGreevey's speech, the public reaction in the NY Times and the Newark Star-Ledger, gay reaction in the Trenton Times. Google News on McGreevey and Statehouse coverage. Plus MemeFirst's perspective, with New Jerseyan Sterling (it don't matter he's in Virginia, he's still got NJ in his heart) weighing in about corruption in NJ politics and McGreevey's news is old news.