I try to be grateful for the abundance of the blessings that I have, for the journey that I'm on and to relish each day as a gift.
We need to have a purpose in this life. I'm pleading with you, I'm begging with you to do the right thing. And do it not for the sake of how it will impact your own lives, but only for the sake of doing the right thing.
We are losing sight of civility in government and politics. Debate and dialogue is taking a back seat to the politics of destruction and anger and control. Dogma has replaced thoughtful discussion between people of differing views.
Firefighters, police officers and state troopers place themselves in
harm's way every day, every week, every year.
When I came out publicly, some photo editors had a field day searching for pictures of me with a limp wrist or some other stereotypical gay signifier - as though, after decades in the public eye, they'd suddenly come across a trove of shots where I looked like a Cher impersonator.
I have two extraordinary daughters, who, I can say proudly, are doing very well in school and in piano. Daughters are a father's joy.
More than anything else I recall being, or trying very deliberately to be, a perfect child. Not a Goody Two-shoes, but a kid who did good, who worked hard and met every expectation. I strove to achieve in the excessive way that psychotherapists tend to regard with concern.
My truth is that I am a gay American,
At different points in my life, I had grappled with the idea of going into the priesthood - in high school or law school. Where it ends, I'm not quite sure. Perhaps it ends with death, grappling with one's spirituality.
I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man.
Of all my false identities, the strategies in my campaign to be accepted, being a sworn Republican is the hardest to explain. In my later political life, I can only be described as a Kennedy Democrat, eager to pursue equitable treatment for the least fortunate.
I've never been much for self-revelation. In two decades of public life, I always approached the limelight with extreme caution. Not that I kept my personal life off-limits; rather, the personal life I put on display was a blend of fact and fiction.
I realized that I had screwed up my life living different parts of my life in different places. I wasn't whole. I wasn't integrated. I wasn't a complete person. And after that, came out, spent some time at a psychiatric hospital.
We need to seek wise leaders who will seek common ground among Americans instead of dividing us further for political gain. As citizens, we must embrace those who embrace ideas, thoughtfulness, civility and kindness to others no matter what their political beliefs.
To be able to love and live in freedom means to be able to make godly decisions. To make godly decisions we have to surrender our egos and all the falsity and shame that goes with it.
The arc of American history almost inevitably moves toward freedom. Whether it's Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, the expansion of women's rights or, now, gay rights, I think there is an almost-inevitable march toward greater civil liberties.
I realized that my truest passion was for helping people change through faith in a higher power. That meant, for me, belonging to the church. Using my abilities to bring Christian doctrine to a postmodern world.
Because of an adulterous affair I shall leave office in November.
But being in the closet uniquely assisted me in politics. From my first run for the state legislature until my election as governor, all too often I was not leading but following my best guess at public opinion.
At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is.
As a child, recognizing my difference from other kids, I went to the local public library to try to better understand my reality. Back then, many library card catalogues didn't even list 'homosexuality' as a topic.
Throughout my life, I have grappled with my own identity, who I am. As a young child, I often felt ambivalent about myself, in fact, confused.
Being gay is a fundamental part of my being - the core of who I've always been, and the thing that I had repressed and run from all my life.
No relief was forthcoming from my then-Catholic faith, which said the practice of homosexuality was a 'mortal sin' subject to damnation.
I'm on the board of a national group called Faith in America. It's designed to fight religious-based bigotry.
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