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Gay man becomes Portland, Ore., mayor at midnight

Adams_suit_2

Tonight, my friend Peter Zuckerman, a reporter at The Oregonian, becomes "first gentleman" of Portland. His partner, Sam Adams, is being sworn in at midnight as mayor.

From GayPolitics.com:

As the clock strikes midnight tonight, Portland, Oregon residents will welcome both a new year and a new mayor.

Mayor-elect Sam Adams will officially be sworn in tonight, making him the first openly gay mayor of a top 30 U.S. city. Adams won the mayoral primary in May with more than 50 percent of the vote, allowing him to avoid a runoff against his nearest opponent.

The invitation-only ceremony will take place tonight at City Hall, while his public swearing-in ceremony will be held on Monday at a local high school.

The Oregonian newspaper writes:

Adams, 45, has risen on the force of his liberal and creative ideas, frenetic energy and legendary work ethic.

Although he didn’t campaign on diversity issues, most Portlanders probably know he’s gay. He’s prominent in the gay community’s well-organized national campaign for equality. He raises money for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and said he won’t stop fighting until gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are recognized as equal under the law.

Still, Adams rarely makes an issue of his sexuality, and his opponents in the May primary didn’t raise it.

And that’s just the way Adams wants it.

“I don’t want to be a gay mayor,” he said. “I do want to be a great mayor. There is no gay pothole and no straight pothole. They’re just potholes.”

Adams is truly a mainstream politician, said City Commissioner Nick Fish, a former labor and civil rights lawyer who lost to Adams for a City Council seat four years ago.

“He is focused on bread-and-butter issues: job creation, economic development, getting businesses to come here,” Fish said. “That is not the typical mantra of a Democrat in this community.”

Yet Fish said Adams’ sexuality does have a political impact. As with President-elect Barack Obama, Fish thinks Adams has broken a barrier in part just by being who he is. And that’s important, he said.

“If they knew nothing else about Sam as a candidate, they knew he was gay and that is a powerful thing to young voters and to liberals in general,” Fish said. “The movement for gay rights is the civil rights movement of our time. The movement for gay marriage is the equal rights struggle of our day.”

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Yay for Portland! Hope it's the first of many states with a gay mayor! California next hopefully! :-)

Congratulations to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, I'm pleased to see the political glass ceiling has a few more new cracks. Voters have come to the realization, between bias and electing the person best suited for their individual communities, bias now comes in second. It's reassuring to see people are more focused on a candidates qualifications and whose the right person to make their community a better place to live, than solely based on who they love.

Tampa had its our own historic and precedent-setting investiture ceremony. Hillsborough County's first openly gay County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, with his partner Gil Sainz by his side, took the oath of office. So many people showed to attend the ceremony, it was standing room only in the commission chamber. An overflow room equipped with a television had to be set up to accommodate all of them. It was by far the largest crowd ever seen for a commission investiture ceremony, which was attributed to the excitement over Kevin, a Democrat who defeated long time Republican incumbent Brian Blair.

"Times are a changing", with this change comes hope for GLBT's who have aspirations to serve their communities in political office in the future.

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