In the midst of defeats in Maine and New York for gay marriage rights, there occurred yesterday a victory that stands out as significant: the election of an openly gay mayor, Annise Parker, in Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city.
While there have been gay mayors elected in Providence, Rhode Island and and Portland, Oregon, much smaller cities, the fact that the largest Texas city elected a lesbian is notable, particularly in a state where there are strong feelings against gay marriage and gay rights, and a Southern state to boot.
Of course, Ms. Parker had a long career of serving in city government, including most recently as the controller of the city’s finances, but still this is a definite sign of progress. Her victory was by nearly eight points over her rival–54-46 percent.
And the fact that she has had a domestic partner for 19 years and has adopted two children with her partner is also significant. Despite all this, the largest Southern city, right behind the Northern giants of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, all considered to be in “liberal states” as compared to Texas, seen as a “conservative” state, has taken this major step forward in human rights!