Former US senator comes out, announces engagement

FILE- In this June 21, 2011, file photo, former Sen. Harris Wofford attends the National Building Museum for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service in Washington. Harris Wofford, 90, talks tenderly of his two loves — his late wife Clare and his soon-to-be spouse Matthew Charlton — in a New York Times opinion piece on Sunday, April 24, 2016. Clare died in January 1996. Harris and Carlton plan to marry April 30.

FILE- In this June 21, 2011, file photo, former Sen. Harris Wofford attends the National Building Museum for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service in Washington. Harris Wofford, 90, talks tenderly of his two loves — his late wife Clare and his soon-to-be spouse Matthew Charlton — in a New York Times opinion piece on Sunday, April 24, 2016. Clare died in January 1996. Harris and Carlton plan to marry April 30. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford talks tenderly of his two loves — his late wife Clare and his soon-to-be spouse Matthew Charlton — in a New York Times opinion piece.

The 90-year-old Pennsylvania statesman said in the Sunday piece it’s been his good fortune to pair love with a best friend twice in life.

“Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall — straight, gay or in between. I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love,” he said. “I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.”

Wofford reflected on his life with his wife of 48 years — they had three children — and how he unexpectedly fell in love with Charlton five years after her death in 1996.

He said “same sex-marriage equality” seemed impossible at one time in America.

“I was wrong, and should not have been so pessimistic,” he said.

The former adviser to President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. said he and the 40-year-old Charlton plan to marry April 30.

“It is right to expand our conception of marriage to include all Americans who love each other.”

Wofford, a Democrat, served in the Senate from 1991 to 1995.

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