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Houston Gets Gay Mayor Annise Parker

Houston Mayor Annise Parker

Houston Mayor Annise Parker

Houston becomes the largest city in United States to elect an openly guy mayor. Annise Parker won with a solid 53 percent approval. Annise Parker is a Lesbian. She never tried to make her sexual orientation either a secret or an issue of concern. Her victory comes two days after Democrats in California’s Assembly unanimously tapped John A. Perez of Los Angeles to be their speaker. He will be the first openly gay lawmaker to hold the powerful post.

Here is what she had to tell in her victory speech. “Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history,” she said, standing by her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard, and their three adopted children. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.”

Throughout the campaign, Ms. Parker tried to avoid making an issue of her sexual orientation and emphasized her experience in overseeing the city’s finances. But she began her career as an advocate for gay rights in the 1980s, and it was lost on no one in Houston, a city of 2.2 million people, that her election marked a milestone for gay men and lesbians around the country.

Several smaller cities in other regions have chosen openly gay mayors, among them Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., and Cambridge, Mass. But Ms. Parker’s success came in a conservative state where voters have outlawed gay marriage and a city where a referendum on granting benefits to same-sex partners of city employees was soundly defeated.

Turnout was light across the city on a rainy, foggy day, with only about 16 percent of registered voters going to the polls.

Ms. Parker’s sexual orientation did not become an issue in the race until after the general election produced no winner and led to a run-off between her and Mr. Locke, who is black and enjoys strong support among African-American voters.

The two candidates differed very little on the issues. Mr. Locke, who is 61, promised to crack down on crime and expand the police department. Ms. Parker, 53, said her experience as controller made her a better candidate to steer the city through the tough financial times it now faces.

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