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  • « Inauguration tidbits | Main | The ad that KABC refused to air »

    January 22, 2009

    No glee in Gayville -- or Portland

    Posted by: Chris

    Samadamsvert Lost in all the inauguration hoopla was the ugly sex scandal involving Portland Mayor Sam Adams, the only openly gay candidate to ever win that office in America's 30 largest cities. Yet despite obvious comparisons to the Mark Foley scandal back in 2006, there's no comparable glee in Gayville, especially the blogosphere.

    In the weeks leading up to his election last November, Adams dismissed rumors of a past sexual relationship with Beau Breedlove, then 17 and other the legal age of consent, back in 2005. Adams insisted he had merely mentored the teen, and labeled the accusation -- made by another gay man who was then considering a mayoral run -- as an ugly smear of the type that discourages gay men from running for office.

    Now, months after Adams' landslide election win, a local paper confirmed the story about the relationship and Adams has admitted that he lied to the public, and had convinced Breedlove to lie as well. Now he's admitting that even the claim of a mentoring relationship was a lie:

    Breedlove asked Adams for advice on being gay in the political arena, but Adams now says that was originally a pretext for meeting.

    "There was no proposition, but I felt there was some interest," Adams said of their initial meetings. "Part of the lie was to play up the mentoring." …

    On Monday, Adams admitted that he and Breedlove had sex several times in the summer of 2005 -- a few weeks after Breedlove reached the age of legal consent. Adams said he lied about the relationship and asked Breedlove to lie because he didn't think voters would believe they waited until after the young man's birthday to become intimate.

    A criminal investigation is now underway, and calls for Adams to resign have mounted, including from Just Out, Portland's gay newspaper, and it seems he may be leaning in that direction.

    The comparisons to "Foley-gate" are obvious: A gay male politician approached by an underage teen for mentoring instead abuses that relationship by soliciting sex, except that Adams admits that actual sex took place.

    There are differences, of course, since Foley's teenage targets were participants in the congressional page program. But no difference is more important to the reaction the scandals are receiving than the poltiical affiliation -- Adams is a Democrat, Foley is a Republican -- and the closet -- Adams is out, Foley was not.

    Nothing excites the gay blogosphere more than sexual hypocrisy, but party affiliation and closetedness are key ingredients in inciting the glee and self-righteous indignation we have seen so many times over the years. Even though Adams' abuse of his position and status -- in the community in general and the gay community in general -- is comparable to Foley and others, the reaction is markedly different in his case.

    Without the closet and/or the alleged self-loathing of gay conservatives to blame for the misbehavior, where's the fun in all of it?

    Where's the fun, indeed. Adams' scandal is deeply disappointing. Whatever you think about age-of-consent laws like Oregon's that deprive even 17-year-olds of making decisions about sex, a relationship between a 42-year-old and a 17-year-old is grossly inappropriate -- and just plain gross, especially so when the 42-year-old is in a position of political prominence.

    Of course straight politicians engage in sexual misbehavior all the time. But don't gay men in public office understand and accept the extra burden and responsibility they have to meet an even higher standard, given how few have gone before? To that extent, Sam Adams' betrayal as an out gay politician is much more disappointing than Foley's.

    Openly gay politicians like Adams should absolutely know better than to come anywhere close to an age-inappropriate relationship, given the ugly stereotypes still out there about gay men as sexual predators. If Adams is to be believed, and he has lied so many times already, he at least waited until Breedlove was 18. That's cold comfort, when he could have so easily steered clear entirely from the situation.

    Then Adams lied about the relationship publicly and repeatedly, and pressured the youth to lie as well.

    Should Adams resign? I think so, yes. Do you agree?

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    Comments

    1. Keith on Jan 22, 2009 2:38:14 PM:

      First we had a day of celebrating Obama's win as we cried about losing on Prop 8 in California; then on the day of Obama's inauguration, Adams cops to lying about having had sex with a young man. Talk about no glee in gayville...

      In addition to the points you mentioned, there's a question about his hiring of a reporter - who dropped the story during the election - into a central planning position with the city, even though she had no planning experience.

      He should resign.

    1. Lucrece on Jan 22, 2009 3:46:36 PM:

      The Clinton-era prudes, I call them.

      His relationship with someone barely enough of age-- and old enough to enlist-- is hardly relevant to his competency as a mayor.

      This is quite common of American's obsession with sexual mores. Parents polled show that they'd prefer their children to watch a man beheaded rather than two men kissing.

    1. Jack on Jan 22, 2009 5:01:04 PM:

      Hurray Lucrece! And while were at let's stop the national obsession of vilifying those poor, poor high school teachers who have sexual relationships with their students. These 17 and 18-year olds are coming after them, can't everyone see? (exaggerated eye roll)

    1. Lucrece on Jan 22, 2009 5:58:55 PM:

      In countries where the age of consent is 15 to 16, I don't see how your self-righteousness passes off as nothing short of arbitrary morality.

      Adam had no power relationship with this man. A teacher does have the power to coerce students into sexual acts.

      Grow up.

    1. the troll on Jan 22, 2009 6:41:06 PM:

      If you change the number from 17 to 18 does the "just plain gross" still apply? For myself, I would say yes, but that is somewhat arbitrary. I better word might be immature. I have found that older guys who date guys this age tend to be disfunctional in many other parts of their lives. They can't relate well to those their own age because they are emotionally underdeveloped.

      At any rate, this guy needs to leave and Chris is correct in what he says.

      This type of scandal is exactly what will cause democrats ot lose the majority advantate they have now. Democrats need to tighten the ranks.

    1. gleeindc on Jan 23, 2009 7:49:54 AM:

      While the lies about the relationship are disturbing, the finding of the age-different relationship as gross shows intolerance. Given the age of consent of 18, which the mayor has claimed was reached before the relationship progressed, what was the violation, beyond the lies? And, given even some gay's unwillingness to accept age-different relationships, can the lies be better understood? Just googling relationships with age differences brings up a number of hits and a lot of them seem to be dealing with not the people in the relationship, but the perception of others of those people. Seems to just further shore up my take that Americans are really hung up on sex and on age.

    1. Virility Ex Reviews on Aug 21, 2011 5:31:16 AM:

      It is too much of a shock and surprise.

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