More thoughts on the Sam Adams sex scandal post-press conference

Sam looks befuddled at yesterday’s press conference

The flurry of news, press conferences, editorial boards calling for Adams’ resignation and bar chatter over the past few days have not, to my dismay, clarified my feelings on the Beau Breedlove, teenage sex scandal. If anything I am more conflicted.

Yet, something in me wants to believe in Sam Adams as a good leader, and most certainly a good person.

So though I may not have anything as definitive as the Police Union’s opinion, I have plenty of thoughts to share. Besides the press conference and my own head here’s a rundown of some of the great coverage that has been informing my thoughts:

The Oregonian’s aggregated coverage
Just Out’s political coverage (which is mostly all about Sam at the moment)
An opinion I respect from Bryan Boyd at Gay Rights Watch
The Mercury’s City Hall coverage
The Willamette Week story that started it all
More Willy coverage
Byron Beck says that gays and lesbians are held to different standards

I’m not sure I agree in this particular case but certainly young men and women date older men and women all the time. It may or may not be right, but it is most certainly common.

Finally, some thoughts during the press conference:

• Sam is absolutely contrite and admits he’s a big sleazeball who let down the whole gay community. Well at least he admits it. Commissioner Amanda Fritz comes to his defense saying, having been a psychiatric nurse for many years, that we all make mistakes and she even somewhat angrily turns it back to us asking if we have not made mistakes. Oh girl, I have…and yet, I don’t think I’ve ever lied about it.

The question remains, “Should we hold public officials to a higher standard than us ‘regular’ people?”

In the grand scheme of things, it seems many politicians have done much more damage to the American people than those involved in sex scandals. I would not have cared one bit about Larry Craig’s desire for bathroom sex if he wasn’t hypocritically homophobic in his public and political life.

• To those who say that liberals will let him off easy and treat him differently than they would a Republican (such as Mark Foley) I heartily disagree. Indymedia, Just Out, and openly gay individuals from The Oregonian asked some of the toughest questions and were the most passionate and angry.

• Some of the questions just seemed over the top, bordering on unfair. One example being “Did you seek the advice of Neil Goldschmidt?” Of course he didn’t. This wasn’t uncovered years later. No one covered for Sam, that’s for sure!

Another question centered around the moral difference between 17 and 18. Truthfully, there may or not be a whole lot of difference. It really depends on the individual. But legally we have to make a distinction somewhere. Here in Oregon that distinction is 18. In some states it is 16. Some kids are quite responsible at 15, 16, 17. Some of us don’t grow up…well…ever.

Other questions just seemed too personal and irrelevant, such as “Who broke it off?” Why do we need to know that? And yet, Adams did answer that it just wasn’t compelling to date someone that much younger and in such a different stage of life. Of course, it would have been best, however, if he had considered that before sleeping with the kid.

• Adams is also apologetic about the fallout, continually saying that Breedlove “…didn’t sign up for this…” I might actually disagree. I do not know Beau at all, but as much of a stupid, susceptible kid as he may have been, he was actually an adult. He was an adult who wanted to get involved with a much older politician, and if he did not know the possible consequences of such actions he surely should have.

• Even though this whole situation is really not funny there is, indeed, some dark humor to be found.

The only person Beau told about his weekend tryst with Sam was John Vezina, whom he ran into on the street. Turns out Vezina was also casually dating Adams at the time.

Now this situation sounds familiar. This is Portland gay drama at its best. And you can see Adams telling it at the very end of this Oregonian video.

Mayor Adams meets with Oregonian editorial board part 2

Update: Just Out, Portland’s only LGBTQ publication, has just recommended that Adams resign as well. Listening to so many opinions, largely similar I feel great pressure to have a hard stance. I almost feel guilty for being unsure. But I also think we have been very quick to judge. I think we might all need to sit back and think a few days more before we get so judgemental…

7 comments to More thoughts on the Sam Adams sex scandal post-press conference

  • RockStrongo

    While there may be many double standards when it comes to straights and gays, this ain’t one of them. If Nick Fish had done the same thing with a 17/18 year old girl, the fallout would be exactly the same.

  • 1975Duck

    When this subject came up in 2007, Sam Adams didn’t say that it was none of our business. He didn’t say it was a relationship between two consulting adults.

    Sam Adams attacked any of us questioning the wisdom of the relationship by denying, lying, pointing to vicious politics, and calling it a malicious slander against a gay man.

    Turns out he lied. Now Sam apologizes for lying. But it is more than just lying. He was the one playing vicious politics. He is the one that used his sexual orientation for political gain. He did what he himself abhors in local politics. He became what we all hate in politics.

    Now that he is mayor and 6 months away from any recall … he comes out with the truth and apologizes. His timing for himself couldn’t be better. I’m sure he is hoping that this all blows over and people forget by July.

    He should resign.

  • kim23456

    I voted for Sam Adams mostly out of queer solidarity; I never really liked the guy, but I wanted to be supportive. Now, knowing the details about how Sam knocked out his fellow gay opponent out of the race (Robert Bell), I’m taking my vote back. Puke, puke.

  • 1975Duck

    … oh, and I would guess that Beau was 17 years old when they started which makes it not only inappropriate (even staffers told him that) … it is also illegal.

    You say you are conflicted. How can you say that? Not only should he be out of office, he probably deserves some time in jail and on some kind of sexual offenders list.

    The man has a serious problem.

  • qpdx

    I certainly don’t think he deserves to be on any sex offender list. It was his fear of people jumping to that conclusion that was such an impetus to lie in the first place.

  • mrcharming

    So I was just doing my daily myspace/facebook stuffs & noticed lots of people posting & reposting information about a rally in suport for Adams, next tuesday at noon. I do not think Adams should resign just yet, i think we should let him have the 6 months until a recall could go into effect to see if he could do anything that might prove his worth as a mayor. That being said, I personally will not attend this rally. I think Adam’s made his bed & now he’s gotta lie in it. Some people are attacking him because he is gay, which is wrong. But most of the people I have discussed it with see it as an abuse of power & they & i dont believe someone who can’t be trusted with power should have so much of it. What I mean to say is that if Adam’s doesn’t have the wits about him to resist a relationship w/ an 18yr old that works for him, knowing how potentially volitile & damaging it could be to himself & those involved, then why would you expect him to say, not take a bribe from a lobbyist, or give a contract to a certain company because it would reap potential benefits for himself. Its a unique insight into his brain & decision making ability, and for that alone, im glad its out. i gave him too much credit for being gay & the awareness that being gay brings to most people. And now he has shown his true colors as a white privilegded male in a position of power, who is so blinded by his own ego he knowingly enters into potentially damaging situations because it simply does not cross his mind that he could get caught. or if it does, he assumes he can pay his way out of it, which i guess we will see if he did or not after the investigation is over. Also, as a side note, what will all these people who are going to this support rally have to say if the investigation uncovers that Adam’s DID have sex with Breedlove when he was 17. does that make a difference to them? are they ready to defend someone who (if its discovered in the investigation) is a *legally* a sex offender? age of consent is a totally debateable subject, but id be interested to see how vocal the same people would be about supporting him if this turns out to be the case. for his sake i hope Adams let the big head and not the little head do the thinking until Breedlove’s 18th birthday.

  • 1975Duck

    Sex offenders list …

    I recommend that we follow the law; especially for a person like Sam Adams who is in public office.

    Whether you like the law shouldn’t be the issue. I’d agree that the age of consent should be lower … but isn’t right now. There are plenty of people that have gone to jail and on the offenders list who probably shouldn’t.

    So if Beau was 17 at the time then Sam should be in jail. If Beau was really 18 then the difference between jail time and just being stupid is only a matter of months.

    Whether he will make a good mayor isn’t the issue. Let’s assume that he’ll make a great mayor. That doesn’t put him above the law.