2016-07-27
New Jersey Gov. James McGreevy's admission on Aug. 12 that he is gay and that he would resign called to mind other politicians and leaders who have come out in recent years. Below are transcripts and quotes by some of those leaders.


Rep. Barney Frank, May 1987


From The Advocate, Nov. 12, 2002.
"Reaction to my coming-out helped me grasp two important points. First, most Americans aren't homophobic; they just think they're supposed to be. Second, concealing our sexual orientation helps keep straight people ignorant of the personal and social costs of homophobia.

"As word began to circulate early in 1987 that I was thinking about finally telling people the truth about my sexuality, many of the most liberal members of Congress tried to dissuade me. They were convinced that it would diminish my effectiveness. I did not disagree, but I explained that I could no longer live the semicrazed, semisecret life of the closet.

"Fortunately, that pessimism was wrong. Neither my colleagues nor my constituents cared much more about my sexuality than I did about theirs.

"Two and a half years after I voluntarily acknowledged being gay, a hustler with whom I had been involved tried to become rich, not only by publicizing our relationship but by luridly fictionalizing it. I was able to deal with the fictional parts by refuting them in front of the House Ethics Committee. As to what I had done wrong--paying him for sex--I noted that trying to live a closeted life while being publicly prominent proved to be emotionally, physically, and in every other way more difficult than I had anticipated, resulting in extreme emotional stupidity.

"To my pleasant surprise, this not only led people to be more forgiving, it helped them understand why I felt the need to come out."

Michael Huffington, 1999


From "The Strange Odyssey of Michael Huffington" by David Brock, Esquire Magazine, Jan. 1, 1999.
"He's not really gay, Michael says as he sits in the quiet living room in Georgetown...Gay means so much more, carries so much cultural baggage, and he's not that. The word gay just doesn't describe him. It really doesn't.

"But he is homosexual. It wasn't a choice; it can't be changed. Lord knows, he tried.

"One day in 1977, Mike, who was raised a Presbyterian and did not consider himself to be especially religious, picked up a book called 'The Three Most Important Steps to Your Better Health and Miracle Living', by Oral Roberts. He read the Sinner's Prayer: Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner. Lord, I believe. Mike now thought he could eliminate his attraction to men through prayer. He felt that God had wiped everything clean.

"But the impulse couldn't be shaken. He was still drawn to men.

"At age thirty-three, Mike Huffington made a resolution: I am straight. I will get married. I will have children. I will never sleep with another man again.

"'I now know that my sexuality is part of who I am,' says Michael Huffington. 'I've been through a long process of finding out the truth about me.'"

Bishop V. Gene Robinson, 1986


From Beliefnet, July 2003
"Fourteen years ago when my partner moved here to be with me and my girls, it's hard to remember what a different time it was and how dangerous it was to come out and what an act of courage it was for my bishop to hire me as his right-hand person."

Archbishop Rembert Weakland, 2002


From Commonweal Magazine, August 15, 2003.
"'From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required' (Luke 12: 48). That admonition weighs heavily upon me. My personal failings are now public knowledge. I have apologized to the local church of Milwaukee and to the larger church for my transgressions, and I have begged forgiveness. The thousands of letters, e-mails, and phone calls I have received since stepping down as archbishop of Milwaukee convince me that the church's faithful in the United States remain incredibly strong in their understanding of human frailty, sinfulness, and the need for healing and forgiveness."

From a hand-written letter from Archbishop Rembert Weakland to Paul Marcoux, dated Aug. 25, 1980.
I knew how much you needed money to bring off that project and how much you counted on me for it. Your anger was evident that I couldn't play the great patron. ... Paul, I really have given you all that I personally possess. The $14,000 is really my personal limit: it was the money I got from my community when I became a bishop and I simply do not have private funds. ... I know you are pushing me for Church money... I feel you are putting me in an impossible situation here. I consider all that Church money as a sacred trust; it represents the offerings of faithful and I must be accountable to them for how it is all spent. There are hundreds of requests on my desk for funds for worthy causes... I simply do not see how I can authorize money for your project. It is not because I don't love you but just because I am not (illegible) of a project. ... During the last months I have come to know how strained I was, tense, pensive, without much joy. I couldn't pray at all. I just did not seem to be honest with God. I felt I was fleeing from Him, from facing Him. I know what the trouble was: I was letting your conscience take over for me and I couldn't live with it. I felt like the world's worst hypocrite. So gradually I came back to the importance of celibacy in my life - not just a physical celibacy but the freedom the celibate commitment gives. ... I cry as I write this...


Bishop Otis Charles, 1993


From the National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 12, 2003.
"The real issue is that the church is coming out of the closet. That's the fact. Both the clergy and the episcopate have large numbers of gay men and lesbians. And the worst part is, in the U.K. and the U.S.A. there was a high degree of tolerance as long as you did not speak. The most severe criticism I received in general [when I came out] was, why do you need to talk about it? Be what you want, just don't make us acknowledge it." "We have excluded a large area of sexuality by not talking about it and this has a huge negative impact not only on individuals but also on the community, on the church. How can a bishop be in relationship with members of that community if there's a whole area of their lives that cannot be discussed?"

more from beliefnet and our partners