In an extraordinary turn of events,
support for Portland's embattled gay mayor is beginning to take
shape, including a rally where openly gay Milk director Gus
Van Sant is expected to appear to support Adams.
Sam Adams has quickly become a
polarizing figure after he admitted that he covered up a sexual
affair with a teenage boy during his mayoral campaign.
Several prominent Portland newspapers –
the Oregonian, the Portland Tribune and the Portland
Business Journal – along with the Portland Police Association
have asked Adams to resign.
While several outlets in the gay media
expressed support for Adams – Queerty.com and Atlanta-based
Sovo.com included – Portland's own Just Out joined in the
chorus of voices asking for resignation.
“People are devastated,” Marty
Davis, editor of Just Out, told the Oregonian. “It's
not a question of innocent until proven guilty. He's already
admitted he lied. He lied to our community, he lied to me, he lied
to my publication.”
Davis said Adams has “lost all
Adams remains in seclusion; he has not
been seen at City Hall since giving a Tuesday press conference during
which he admitted he lied about his relationship with Beau Breedlove
and asked for forgiveness.
“I want to apologize to the people of
Portland for my dishonesty,” Adams said. “I made a mistake.”
The rumor that he and Breedlove had an
intimate relationship first surfaced during the 2007 mayoral
campaign. Adams' long-standing response has been to dismiss those
reports as a “nasty smear.”
During the press conference, Adams
admitted to sleeping with Breedlove as soon as three weeks after he
turned 18 and the two dated for “maybe two months.” Oregon is
one of twelve states where the age of consent is 18.
Portland city council agreed on
Wednesday to ask the state Attorney General to investigate if Adams
abused his office.
Several officials have suggested that
the investigation was Adams' only hope for survival. The mayor told
the Oregonian that he'll decide soon if he's to step down or
fight for his job.
Several groups are urging Adams to
remain. The group Sam Is Still My Mayor
(samisstillmymayor.blogspot.com) is organizing a Friday rally at
5:30PM at City Hall. The group says that 20 years of service
“outweigh his honesty about the details of his (legal and
consensual) sex life.” Openly gay syndicated columnist Dan Savage
will speak at the rally, according to the group's website.
Another rally that will feature openly
gay Milk director Gus Van Sant is being organized by Thomas
Lauderdale, the leader of the Portland band Pink Martini. Lauderdale
told the Oregonian that Van Sant, who lives in Portland, will
be present to support Adams. Van Sant's biopic about slain gay
rights leader Harvey Milk was nominated for eight Academy Awards
yesterday. Lauderdale, who called the reaction to Adams' admission
“a feeding frenzy,” has tentatively scheduled his rally for
Opposition has also formed on the Net
with the arrival of recallsamadams.com, whose members remain
anonymous. A recall effort, however, will have to wait. Under
Portland rules, a mayor cannot be recalled until after he has served
six months in office.
Adams became the first openly gay mayor
to run one of the 30 largest cities in the United States when he took
office on January 1.