Portland becomes largest US city to have gay mayor

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The US city of Portland, Oregon, swore in its openly gay mayor Sam Adams on New Year’s Day.

Adams, 45, won the vote with a 58% majority in spring 2008.

During the election campaign, Adams’ sexuality was not brought up by either himself or the opposition. He said:

“This is a testament to how fair-minded Portlanders are that it wasn’t an issue.

“I spend my time on the basic issues of life.

“A part of that includes equal rights, but that’s not even close to a majority of the time.”

“My passions for public service includes promoting social justice equality for all, but it obviously also includes finding good jobs for people, which is also part of my family’s background of not being able to always have economic security.

“Being gay is part of me, so is being Irish-American, so is being from a small Oregon town.”

Adams had previously been chief of staff to Mayor Vera Katz for 11 years, and had been a city councilor since 2004.

When Adams won the election in 2008, Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund , said:

“In Oregon, fairness has won the day.”

The fund works to increase the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government in the United States.

It has helped to increase the number of openly gay elected officials from 49 in 1991 at its foundation to more than 400 today.

60 of those were elected in 2008.