Earlier this month, in a feature on Portland’s new openly gay mayor Sam Adams, we called the newly elected politico “a handsome do-gooder gay politician who wins over the citizens of his city by riding his bike to work, keeping citizens abreast of what he’s doing via blog and campaigning by standing on street corners holding a sign that reads ‘Honk for the Wonk’ after his opponent accused him of being to policy-driven.” That was before he acknowledged that prior to becoming Mayor Sam Adams, then-City Commissioner Sam Adams was romancing a newly legal intern.

Adams has spent the past year and a half denying allegations he and a one Beau Breedlove had a sexual relationship. But now, he’s out of the closet with the truth, saying in a statement, “I lied at the time because I was afraid that people would believe untrue rumors being circulated by an undeclared mayoral opponent that I had broken a law involving sexual relations with a minor. But this is not a good excuse.” (He also publicly apologized to Breedlove for making him lie about their relationship.)

And he had a right to be worried: When Adams met Breedlove in April 2005, the young intern was just 17 (he’s now 21). Adams insists their relationship began only after Breedlove was legal.

Watch local Portland coverage of the scandal:

As “anti-liberal” sites like NewsBusters push to blow this story into a bigger scandal, it begs the question: Is Adams’ relationship with Breedlove even news? Or a scandal? If Breedlove was indeed 18 at the time, it this just a case of “older gent-younger fella” romance, or a violation of an ethical standard we hold our politicians to? And before you reach your conclusion, ask yourself whether you’re treating Adams any differently because he’s gay.

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