James McGreevey

James Edward “Jim” McGreevey is 52nd Governor of New Jersey, serving from January 15, 2002 until November 15, 2004, when he left office three months after admitting that he had had an extramarital affair with a male employee. Upon publicly revealing his homosexuality on August 12, 2004, McGreevey became the first and, to date, the only openly gay state governor in United States history.

McGreevey was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, grew up in nearby Carteret, and attended St. Joseph High School in Metuchen. He attended The Catholic University of America before graduating from Columbia University in 1978. He later earned a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1981 and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University in 1982. McGreevey also attended a diploma program in law at the London School of Economics.

Jim McGreevey was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from 1990 to 1992, when he became Mayor of Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. In 1993, he was elected to the New Jersey Senate, simultaneously serving as mayor during the four-year Senate term. McGreevey first ran for governor in 1997, but was defeated in a close race (47%-46%) by the incumbent Republican, Christine Todd Whitman. He ran for the governorship again in 2001, however, and won the second time around.

James McGreevey was raised as a Roman Catholic in a socially conservative household. Due to his pro-choice stance on abortion, he stated as governor that he would not receive Communion at public church services. This decision came after a request by Archbishop John J. Myers of the Archdiocese of Newark for pro-choice supporters to not seek Communion when they attended mass. McGreevey is committed to the separation of church and state, having said that he believes “it’s a false choice in America between one’s faith and constitutional obligation.” McGreevey implemented a stem cell research plan for New Jersey, and heavily lobbied for the state’s first domestic partnership law for same-sex couples, which he signed into law in early 2004.

In his memoir, “The Confession” (2006), McGreevey describes the duality of his personal life before he came out as gay. McGreevey’s life after politics and his calling as a priest are covered in a 2013 documentary film, Fall to Grace, directed by Alexandra Pelosi. The film debuted on HBO on March 28, 2013.

Jim McGreevey has two daughters. He and his partner live in New Jersey.