Former New Jersey Democratic Gov. James E. McGreevey and first openly gay state governor in U.S. history has started the process to become a priest in his newly adopted Episcopal faith and has been accepted into a three-year seminary program starting this fall.
McGreevey, 49, resigned in August 2004 after announcing he was gay and had an affair with a male staffer Golan Cipel, his homeland security advisor and alleged lover, who denied the relationship. On August 12, 2004, faced with threats from Golan Cipel’s lawyer, Allen Lowy, that Cipel would file a sexual harassment suit against him in Mercer County Court (McGreevey in his book says Lowy told him “…although we think we will get $50 million, we’ll take five”), McGreevey announced at a press conference: “My truth is that I am a gay American.” He also said that he “engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man” (whom his aides immediately named as Cipel), and that he would resign effective November 15, 2004. Even though McGreevey’s sexual orientation had been speculated about in New Jersey political circles and questions about the nature of his relationship with Cipel had been alluded to in the media even before August 2004, McGreevey’s announcement made him the first openly gay state governor in American history.
The Star-Ledger won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for its “coverage of the resignation of New Jersey’s governor after he announced he was gay and confessed to adultery with a male lover.” McGreevy was married to first lady Dina Matos McGreevey at the time of the alleged affair and the couple has one daughter. they currently in a fierce divorce, including a batttle over custody.