Former US Sen. Wofford, 90, reveals he will marry his male partner
Some 20 years after the death of his wife of 48 years, an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr and John F Kennedy, who was on Bill Clinton’s shortlist for vice president in 1992, will wed 40-year-old Matthew Charlton this Saturday.
Wofford barely lost his re-election bid in 1994 to Republican Rick Santorum, whose anti-LGBT rhetoric earned him a filthy new meaning for his last name ‒ courtesy of author Dan Savage ‒ that will forever remembered by the internet.
Finally, as he prepares for his April 30 wedding to another man, Harris Wofford to Rick Santorum: pic.twitter.com/ZF9loECb7e— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) April 23, 2016
Wofford said in his New York Times piece that he met Charlton in Florida in 2001, five years after his wife Clare died from leukemia.
While “Matthew is very different from Clare,” wrote Wofford, he “admired Matthew’s adventurous 25-year-old spirit.”
After Clare's death, Wofford “felt grateful to be alive, lucky to have many friends and family members”, but “also wondered what it would be like living by myself for the rest of my life.”
“I was sure I would never again feel the kind of love Clare and I shared… I assumed that I was too old to seek or expect another romance,” Wofford wrote.
I was a huge Harris Wofford fanboy in college. If I'd known I had a shot with him romantically, my life might be very different.— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) April 24, 2016
Although he wrote that other than with his wife, he had “never felt love blossom this way before,” Wofford only told his children about his new romance three years after he first met Charlton.
Beautiful story of love and loss. Congratulations to Senator Harris Wofford and Matthew Charlton on their marriage. https://t.co/EliooQD82S— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) April 24, 2016
Stating that while their “bond is entirely natural, to others it comes as a strange surprise,” Wofford said that he isn’t keen on his sexuality being labeled.
“I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love,” he wrote. “I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.”
I have to admit that Harris Wofford saying he is marrying a man who is 50 years younger than he is probably is more unexpected than Trump.— Harry Enten (@ForecasterEnten) April 24, 2016
His column then states that he is “lucky to be in an era where the Supreme Court has strengthened what President Obama calls ‘the dignity of marriage’.”
“Matrimony is not based on anyone’s sexual nature, choices, or dreams,” Wofford added. “It is based on love.”
Wofford’s admission could be part of a future episode of the Netflix series ‘House of Cards’, given that both wives are named Clare and protagonist Frank Underwood also has a sexual history that defies a particular label.
YOOOOO IS FRANK UNDERWOOD GAY OR DID I JUST DREAM?😭😭😭😭#houseofcards— Aurxlien✌️ (@KxngAur3lien96) April 18, 2016
The subacute gay thing going on between Frank and his secret service agent Meechum is LIFE. #HouseOfCards— Dana (@Dan_a_) March 23, 2016
Unlike Underwood though, Wofford never made it to the White House, although he did have many connections there.
A close friend and advisor of Martin Luther King Jr., Wofford was an early supporter of the Civil Rights movement, which resulted in President John F. Kennedy appointing him coordinator of the president’s civil rights campaign in 1961.
Great tribute to Youth Service America Board Member Harris Wofford at yesterday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of... https://t.co/4GmQFoBp4I— Steve Culbertson (@Culbs) January 20, 2016
Thirty years later, his name was pushed as Clinton’s running mate, although the Arkansas governor eventually picked Senator Al Gore of Tennessee.
Wofford also introduced then-Senator Barack Obama before his famous “A More Perfect Union” speech in March 2008, which many believe pivoted the country’s views on racism.