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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mercer assemblyman acknowledges he's gay
Gusciora cites state's 'tolerant' attitude
BY DEBORAH HOWLETT, Star-Ledger Staff

The state lawmaker pushing to give same-sex couples in New Jersey the legal right to marry has acknowledged he is gay.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) said yesterday he has never hidden his sexual orientation, but his sponsorship of the marriage equality bill seemed to raise the question in the minds of others.

"I've just never made an issue of it," Gusciora said. "If someone asks me, I tell them. No one ever asked me publicly before."

Gusciora, 46, acknowledged he is gay during an appearance Sunday on the New Jersey Network news show "On the Record." His official biography in Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual makes no mention of his family or personal life. He was first elected to the Assembly in 1995.

Gusciora, who is single, is the first openly gay member of the Legislature and the highest-profile politician to acknowledge his sexual orientation since Gov. James E. McGreevey resigned from office two years ago in a scandal over an extramarital affair with a male aide.

"Reed's coming out has enormous historical and policy consequences," said Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality. Gay rights advocates in states such as California and New York have had more success in the legislative process, Goldstein said, because of the personal impact openly gay lawmakers can have on the views of their colleagues...

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