Benny's World

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Standing on the Side of Love and Competence: Annise Parker Wins Mayor Elect in Houston

(photo courtesy of the Free Press Houston)

This morning, I awoke to several e-mails from our GLBT friends in which they were estatic about Annise Parker's victory in the mayor election last night. Ms. Parker did win in a similar way to Harvey Milk as one of the supervisors in the sense she proved her competence first as being a member of the city council, then became comptroller (the bean counter).

From the Houston Chronicle:

Annise Danette Parker was elected mayor of Houston on Saturday, winning her seventh consecutive city election and becoming both the first contender in a generation to defeat the hand-picked candidate of Houston's business establishment and the first openly gay person to lead a major U.S. city.

Parker, Houston's current city controller who first emerged in the public arena as a gay rights activist in the 1980s, defeated former City Attorney Gene Locke on an austere platform, convincing voters that her financial bona fides and restrained promises would be best suited in trying financial times. Parker, 53, will replace the term-limited Mayor Bill White on Jan. 1.

Annise is gay and has been with her partner for 19 years. They have 3 adopted children. Unfortunately, social conservatives, including many pastors in town tried to make Ms. Parker's sexual orientation an issue. I was heartened to see that the First UU in Houston (my former church) invited her and other ministers to join the congregation for fellowship last Sunday, and she/they accepted the invitation. I suspect this spurred many UU'ers to get out the vote about Houstonian issues, not just the focus on being gay. Ms Parker earned her spot.

I'm thinking Molly Ivins and Ann Richards are smiling today, and I bet Jim Hightower is too.

Congrats to Mayor -elect Parker and her family.

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