The media frenzy over a Portland sex-and-lies scandal is playing out in such classic fashion, it's easy to forget the protagonists — Mayor Sam Adams and his barely legal paramour, Beau Breedlove — are gay.
Oh, there's plenty of handwringing over sexual double standards. Willamette Week, the Portland alternative paper which broke the story and forced Adams to confess, felt the need to preempt accusations of homophobia:
Voters have handed Adams the keys to America’s 30th largest city. Most Portlanders may not care whom he sleeps with so long as it’s legal. But they expect a mayor who is smart enough to level with the public—and who is not beholden to anyone to protect his secrets. The puzzling relationship of Portland’s new mayor with a young man less than half his age is not a story about sexual preference. Instead, it is a story about candor and the need for the public to be able to trust its leaders.
It's not the crime, it's the under-the-covers coverup! Right.
Though Adams and Breedlove both denied it in 2007 as the mayoral race heated up, they both now admit they had sex in 2005 when Adams was 42 and Breedlove was 18. A shocking age gap, some Internet commenters say. Unfair, others retort: What about Jerry Seinfeld and Shoshanna Lonstein, or Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky?
What about them? The media feasted on those stories, too. This is where we are now as a society: A sex scandal is a sex scandal, no matter the genders involved. And, as with any sex scandal, it doesn't hurt that Adams and Breedlove are both easy on the eyes.
The only thing queer about this story is the edge that gay and lesbian outlets seem to have in breaking it. Adams has given an interview to Out magazine; Breedlove spoke to 365 Gay News, a Viacom-owned news service which is already teasing an interview to air Thursday on the conglomerate's all-gay Logo channel. A good old he-said/she-said — except this one is he-said/he-said.
Gays once complained about their lack of representation in the media. A watchdog group, GLAAD, still patrols the airwaves looking for bias. At last, we have mainstream gay outlets, splashing a made-for-TV scandal on a 24-hour cable channel. Shouldn't we count this as progress?
Here's Breedlove's breathy confession to an "inappropriate" relationship: