This Week in Gay Political Scandal: Portland Mayor Sam Adams

January 21, 2009

Now that there are lot more out LGBT folks in political office, we can get in on the political scandals just like the rest. And in American politics, nothing beats a sex scandal but a GAY sex scandal.

Enter Sam Adams. Recently elected as Mayor of Portland, Oregon–the largest American city to elect and openly gay mayor. Well he  had an affair with a 18-ish year old he was mentoring. OK, so Beau Breedlove (the young man in question) turned 18 in June of 2007, the summer when the two were gettin’ it on and poppin–so it’s slightly unclear whetheer Breedlove was actually 17 or 18 when the affair started, though Adams maintains that he was 18.  There are calls in Portland for the mayor to step down, though he was JUST sworn in on January 1. The Associated Press reports:

A contrite Mayor Sam Adams apologized to Portland for lying about a sexual relationship with a male teenager he was mentoring, but asked the city to consider it an anomaly in two decades of public service.

“I screwed up. I blew it. There’s no way to sugarcoat it,” Adams said during a news conference at City Hall Tuesday.

Adams coasted to victory in the 2008 election, making Portland the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor. He was sworn in Jan. 1.

The 45-year-old said he has no plans to resign, but left open the possibility: “If it were no longer in the city’s best interests that I stay, yes, I would resign.”

OK–while it may be kinda skeevy for a 45 year old to be screwing with an 18-ish year old he was mentoring, it’s not illegal. And it certainly does not rise to the occasion of impeachment or resignation–even if he tried to cover up the affair with a consenting adult (that also goes for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, as far as I’m concerned). And what about Breedlove? What’s the point of having “age of consent” if it doesn’t really mean he gets to consent? Though we may not like the choices an 18 year old would make–and I made plenty of stupid ones–isn’t that still his choice? Sure, he may regret it . But then again, he may not.

4 Responses to This Week in Gay Political Scandal: Portland Mayor Sam Adams

  1. bernietarver says:

    While I agree with you, I think this incident rekindles that old “morality” argument that opponents of LGBT candidates like to insinuate into political campaigns.

    I can see future gay candidates having to field intrusive questions, especially if they are single and/or have anything on their resume that suggests involvement with youths. Can you imagine being a gay candidate for a school board election? The bigots would have a field day.

  2. “And what about Breedlove?” is a great question. And there’s no such thing as an ‘age of non-consent’ if you can say “Hell no!” regardless of how old you are. No, that doesn’t shift responsibility away from Mr. Adams from being the more responsible (note: not the only responsible) adult, but where is Beau Breedlove right now? We all know where Sam Adams is, publicly trying to repair his tarnished political reputation.

  3. jordan says:

    i think what this really shows us is the bankruptcy of a homonormative politics. you know those sugar daddy corporate homos have freaky shit in their closets. what do they think they have to gain trying to “coast to victory” on an image of being normative, monogamous, egalitarian sexual partners when it’s not who they really are? adams set himself up with the same kind of denial as larry craig and so many others.

    the scandal is that he lied about a totally legal and consensual relationship that probably lots of 45 year olds and 18 year olds fantasize about, gay and straight….he does a disservice to progressive-minded constituents of his city by shaming everyone who has had or has wanted an intergenerational relationship…as a newly anointed and supposedly “sexually liberated” leader, he should own up to his desires and practices as nothing to be ashamed of….

    if he were a troll, then it would be truly sleazy. but he doesn’t look lecherous in that photo…and anyway, what is it that terrifies the public about seeing an intergenerational couple into it and enjoying it? does it remind them too much of the material exchanges which structure their own couplings? scary monsters!

  4. Pingback: Leave Sam Adams Alone: Get a Life « Good Tithings

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