For those outside of New Jersey, the saga continues between ex-Governor, ex-Catholic, ex-husband, and ex-heterosexual Jim McGreevey, and his ex-wife. This is an op-ed by the Newark Star Ledger's Kathleen O'Brien:Marriage redefined by McGreeveyThursday, March 06, 2008
IS THAT the kind of marriage Jim McGreevey would want for his daughters?
McGreevey, through his lawyers, is trying a new approach in his messy divorce case: He's lowering the very definition of marriage.
"Our contention is that the purpose of marriage -- living together, having a child, having companionship -- were all fulfilled," he claims in a court filing. Neither the misrepresentation nor the concealment of his sexual preference showed any fraud, he claims.
Imagine this stripped-down McGreevey revision of the nuptial vows:
McGreevey: "I, Jim, promise to live with you, have a child, and provide companionship. End of story."
The bride: "How about two kids? I always wanted two kids."
McGreevey: "Don't push it."
Clergyperson: "For better, for worse?"
McGreevey: "Um, yeah, sure, I guess."
Clergyperson: "From this day forward?
McGreevey: "My attorneys advise me that is implied."
Clergyperson: "In sickness or in health?"
McGreevey: "Yes, but if I'm thrown out of office, she has to get her own health insurance."
Clergyperson: "For richer, for poorer?"
McGreevey: "I'll have to talk to my campaign donors and get back to you on that one."
Clergyperson: "To love and to cherish?"
McGreevey: "Ehh, not so much. It depends on whether I'm up for re-election. Or the Legislature's in session. Or Golan's in town."
Clergyperson: "I now pronounce you a marriage of convenience. You may kiss the bride. Or ignore her completely."
Cue the antiphonal trumpets! Release the doves!
Again we ask: Is this the kind of marriage he'd want for either of his daughters?
How deliciously appalling to watch Mr. Gay American, Mr. Authentic Self, Mr. Tortured Soul, now claim that sexual orientation in a relationship doesn't matter.
So...other gay men who find themselves in loveless marriages should just, what, stick it out? If McGreevey's marriage was one that fulfilled the very purpose of marriage, why is he not contesting the divorce in its entirety?
Well, it's not even worth a moment's serious thought.
(One weird side point is that this line of reasoning pokes a hole in the argument for gay marriage. McGreevey seems to be saying the very definition of marriage includes producing a child together. That would close marriage to all gays, including himself.)
You have to wonder what kind of advice McGreevey is getting -- or receiving -- these days. Every time his side files a court brief, he says something preposterous and loses ground in the court of public opinion.
Dina Matos McGreevey fares only slightly better, particularly when she addresses the topic of money. She did get the financial shaft from him. She lost her marital home (that would be Drumthwacket), her transportation (N.J. State Troopers) and her health insurance.
Yet she is acting like money will make her whole. Her accountants claim he should be making nearly $1.5 million a year, not the $50,000 he claims.
About the last thing the taxpayers of New Jersey need is for Jim McGreevey to be earning $1.5 million. Because you know the only way he could pull that off? By good old-fashioned influence-peddling, banking on his political connections to the public trough.
In his memoirs, McGreevey tells of imagining his future in the days after his resignation: "I fantasized about being in love, really in love -- ordinary, boring, romantic love, the kind that takes you into old age, the kind my parents still have."
Funny, that is never mentioned in his attorney's description of a "fulfilled" marriage.