Democrat McGreevey Praised for 'Courage' Two Years Ago

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - There was no immediate reaction from homosexual advocacy groups to the allegations surrounding Pastor Ted Haggard, the Christian evangelical leader accused of engaging in extra-marital homosexual trysts -- something he denies. Readers posting comments on one liberal blog were screaming "hypocrisy."

But when former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, a Democrat, was forced out of the proverbial closet two years ago, homosexual advocacy groups praised his courage under pressure, even though McGreevey, as governor, had opposed same-sex marriage.

"The governor's coming out today was no doubt poignant for every member of the lesbian and gay community in New Jersey and, in fact, across America. We all know how difficult it is to come out as openly gay, whether to family or other loved ones. No one could imagine what it's like to come out to 300 million people -- this is totally unprecedented," Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, said at the time.

Steven Fisher, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, told MSNBC-TV: "Coming out is a deeply personal journey, and Gov. McGreevey today showed enormous courage."

Last month, in an interview with Larry King, McGreevey said he didn't "embrace gay marriage as governor" because "I was in the closet myself. I was afraid, and frankly it was also the easier political tack to take. It was the easier road to follow and, you know, for which I'm obviously not proud of."

Ted Haggard, who resigned Thursday as leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and as leader of his Colorado Springs mega-church, told a Denver television station he "never had a gay relationship with anybody."

Fellow Christian conservatives were defending Haggard from smears that they see as intended to keep values voters home on Election Day. Colorado is one of eight states with a marriage amendment on the ballot.

See Earlier Story:
New Jersey, Nation React to Governor's Leap From Closet (Aug. 13, 2004)

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