Ex-N.J. Governor McGreevey’s Ex-Wife Against Marriage Equality

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday January 14, 2010

The ex-wife of former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, who resigned office in 2004 after announcing that he was a "gay American," has now come out against marriage rights for same-sex families.

"I was raised a Catholic," Dina Matos told the media. "I grew up in the church, so I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman." Her remarks were quoted in a Jan. 14 Gannett New Jersey article posted at My Central Jersey.com.

Matos praised the outcome of a Jan. 7 vote in which New Jersey lawmakers killed a bill that would have extended marriage equality to Garden State gay and lesbian families. The bill was a lat attempt to secure family parity for GLBT New Jerseyans through the legislature before anti-gay Gov.-elect Chris Christie takes office Jan. 19.

Matos is the author of a memoir, Silent Partner, that tells her side of the McGreevey saga. Matos claims that she knew nothing about her husband's true sexuality until McGreevey confessed to having an affair with a male staffer. However, accounts disclosed to the media by a former employee of McGreevey's, Ted Petersen, suggested otherwise: Pedersen said that he used to join the couple for three-way sex. The sessions, which the trio reportedly referred to as "Friday Night Specials," began in 1999, Pedersen said, when he was about 20, and before McGreevey and Matos were wed. The encounters continued after the couple had married, Pedersen said, finally ending in 2001, after McGreevey won the governorship of New Jersey.

Pederson said that McGreevey may have had "light interest" in him, "but it didn't seem like he was gay." However, Petersen added, "It did enhance their sexual relationship having me be a part of it." Pedersen's disclosure took place even as Matos and McGreevey were in embroiled in divorce proceedings; Pedersen said that he had provided a sworn deposition about his sexual relationship with the couple. McGreevey confirmed Pedersen's account, but Matos denied it.

Talking to the media about marriage equality, Matos indicated that civil unions should be sufficient, calling the provision--which is New Jersey law--"wonderful." GLBT equality proponents have said that civil unions do not, in fact, provide adequate protections for gay and lesbian families.

McGreevey, meantime, still resides in New Jersey and has entered a same-sex relationship with Mark O'Donnell. McGreevey has declared that if law in his state allowed it, he would marry O'Donnell, the Gannett New Jersey article noted. McGreevey is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at General Theological Seminary with an eye to becoming an Episcopalian clergyman.

Matos told the media that the pain of families disintegrating because one partner is secretly gay is not so uncommon. ""There are at least two million marriages that break up each year because one of the spouses come out of the closet," she said. "You don't understand unless you live it." As for her and McGreevey, Matos said, "We have a daughter together, so we have to have a relationship."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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