Years after wife's death, 90-year-old former senator to marry a man

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Years After Wife's Death, 90-Year-Old Former Senator to Marry a Man


At 90 years old, former Pennsylvania Sen. Harris Wofford announced he's marrying a man, 20 years after the death of his wife.

In a New York Times op-ed, Wofford explained his budding romance.

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"We both felt the immediate spark, and as time went on, we realized that our bond had grown into love. Other than with Clare, I had never felt love blossom this way before."

Wofford says he is set to marry Matthew Charlton, a 40-year-old man whom he met nearly 15 years ago, at the end of April. Wofford was married for nearly five decades before his wife, Clare, died in 1996 after battling acute leukemia.

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Years after wife's death, 90-year-old former senator to marry a man
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 â his late wife Clare and his soon-to-be spouse Matthew Charlton â 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)
FILE- In this July 15, 1992, file photo, Clare Wofford, left, takes the stage with her husband, former U.S. Sen Harris Wofford, at the Democratic National Convention in New York. Harris Wofford, 90, talks tenderly of his two loves â his late wife Clare and his soon-to-be spouse Matthew Charlton â 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/Carol Francavilla, File)
U.S. President John Kennedy and members of the Civil Rights Commission pose during a White House conference on Nov. 22, 1961 in Washington. Reading counter-clockwise, starting at far right, are: Robert S. Rankin; Robert Storey, commission Vice President; the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame University; Spottswood W. Robinson, III; Harris Wofford, presidential aide; Kennedy; Berl Bernhard; Edwin Griswold and John Hannah. (AP Photo/Byron Rollins
Former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford, right, is consoled by friends following memorial ceremonies for his late wife Clare at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., Saturday, Jan. 6, 1996. Mrs. Wofford died of complications from leukemia Thursday, Jan. 4.(AP Photo/Sabina Louise Pierce)
President Bill Clinton gestures after signing the Martin Luther King Holiday and Service Act, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on August 23, 1994. Looking on from left are Martin Luther King III; Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa.; Eli Segal, chairman, Corporation for National Service; and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. The bill extends the authorization for the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission for five years. (AP Photo/Denis Paquin)
Martin Luther King III, left, and Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.), look on as President Bill Clinton signs the Martin Luther King Holiday and Service Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Aug. 23, 1994. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton meets reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday, June 22, 1994, after a luncheon with Democratic senators to discuss health care reform. Joining the first lady, from left are: Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., and Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine, right. (AP Photo/John Duricka)
KRT STAND ALONE PHOTO SLUGGED: WOFFORD KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY CHUCK KENNEDY/KRT (April 27) Former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford photographed in his Washington, DC office Wednesday, April 13 2005. (Photo by Chuck Kennedy/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he awards former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania (L) the Presidential Citizens Medal for his advocacy of public service, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, February 15, 2013. Obama honored 18 Americans Friday with the medal, including six teachers who lost their lives protecting students in the Sandy Hook school shooting in December. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
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Wofford says in his letter that he is thankful for the Supreme Court's decision to strengthen "the dignity of marriage" by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.

"Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall — straight, gay or in between," he adds in the New York Times piece. "I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness."

Wofford spent a large part of his career fighting for civil rights. He served as a special assistant for John F. Kennedy and advised Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement.

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