It seems rather clear that openly gay public office holders need to lead very clean lives and not have any skeletons in their “closets”. Portland’s best mayor, Sam Adams, an openly gay man, declined to run for a second term in 2012 after being taken to task in the press and by the public for a consensual kiss with a just barely adult, the improbably named Beau Breedlove, a legislative intern, but not Adam’s intern.
Today, Seattle’s openly gay Mayor, Ed Murray, announced he will resign, effective tomorrow at 5pm.
Four different men had come forward claiming they were sexually abused by Murray in the 1970s and 1980s. Murray claims the accusations are false. Now a fifth man, alleging to be Murray’s cousin, says Murray sexually abused him in the mid-1970s when he was a boy.
“While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business. I’m proud of all that I have accomplished over my 19-years in the Legislature, where I was able to pass what were at the time the largest transportation packages in state history, a landmark Gay Civil Rights bill and a historic Marriage Equality bill.”
“And I am proud of what we have accomplished together at the City during my time as mayor, passing a nation-leading $15 minimum wage, and major progressive housing affordability and police accountability legislation, as well as negotiating an agreement to build a world-class arena that I believe in time will bring the NHL and NBA to Seattle.”
““But it has also become clear to me that in light of the latest news reports it is best for the city if I step aside. To the people of this special city and to my dedicated staff, I am sorry for this painful situation.”
“In the interest of an orderly transition of power, Council President Bruce Harrell will become Mayor upon my resignation, and will decide within the following five days whether he will fill out the remainder of my term. During this time Director of Operations Fred Podesta has been tasked with leading the transition.”
If Harrell decides not to serve the rest of Murray’s term, the Seattle City Council would have to vote on an acting mayor.
The new allegation made the news just before noon. Murray canceled a scheduled press conference about Seattle’s sports stadium KeyArena just minutes later.
Murray had already announced in May that he would not seek a second term.
An election in November will decide between U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and urban planner Cary Moon to see who becomes the next mayor. Both candidates had called on Murray to resign.
Murray began his career working for the Public Defenders’ office in Portland. He moved to Seattle and became active in local politics. He was campaign manager for Cal Anderson, the first openly gay legislator in Washington State. In 1995, Murray, a Democrat, ran to fill the State Senate seat left vacant by the death of Anderson. Murray was defeated by state Representative Pat Thibaudeau. Murray was then appointed to fill Thibaudeau’s vacant State House seat in the 43rd Legislative District in 1995. The 43rd district is located entirely in Seattle and includes the University District, Montlake, Eastlake, and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. The district is very progressive and Democratic. Murray was elected Mayor of Seattle in 2013.
That same year, he married Michael Shiosaki at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle; the couple had been together for 22-years. Murray has not emphasized his gayness during his career, describing himself as “a Democrat who happens to be gay.” During his campaigns, he had the backing of the Gay And Lesbian Victory Fund.