Houston, TEXAS has elected openly gay mayor... - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-14-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
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Houston, TEXAS has elected openly gay mayor...

HOUSTON — Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor on Saturday night, as voters gave a solid victory to the city controller, Annise Parker.

Annise Parker, the city controller, arriving at her election night party.
Cheers and dancing erupted at Ms. Parker’s campaign party as her opponent, fellow Democrat Gene Locke, a former city attorney, conceded defeat just after 10 p.m. when it became clear he could not overcome her lead.

Twenty minutes later, Ms. Parker appeared before ecstatic supporters at the city’s convention center and then joked that she was the first graduate of Rice University to be elected mayor. (She is, by the way.) Then she grew serious.

“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.”

With all precincts reporting, Ms. Parker had defeated Mr. Locke by 53 percent to 47 percent.

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 Democrats 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.

The candidates also started slinging stones at one another in final weeks as it became clear neither had a huge advantage in the few polls conducted here. Mr. Locke bashed Ms. Parker as “soft on crime” and suggested she favors tax increases. She portrayed him as nothing more than a lobbyist for developers.

But the ugliest attacks came from a group of black pastors who spoke out against Ms. Parker for what they called her gay agenda and two separate anti-gay advocates who sent out fliers in the mail calling attention to her support from gay groups and to her relationship with her partner. Mr. Locke denied having anything to do with the attacks, but two members of his finance committee gave $40,000 to help finance one of the mailings.

Some national gay-rights groups, meanwhile, came to the aid of Ms. Parker’s campaign with money and volunteers to staff telephone banks in a get-out-the-vote effort and to urge her likely supporters to vote.

Political strategists said that to win, Mr. Locke needed to carry a large majority of the black vote, which is usually around a third of the turnout, and to attract significant support from conservative whites, many of them Republicans, who are also about a third of the voting mix here.

The crowd at Ms. Parker’s speech included dozens of young gay men and lesbians who had volunteered on her campaign. Many were elated with the sense of history being made.

“It’s a huge step forward for Houston,” said one of the volunteers, Lindsey Dionne, who is lesbian. “It shows hate will not prevail in this city.”

Robert Shipman, who is gay and worked long hours for Ms. Parker, said: “The diversity in this room, it’s not just gay people, it’s gay, straight, black, white, Jew, Christian, Muslim, every kind of person. It took all of us to get to this point.”

For his part, Mr. Locke was gracious in defeat, calling for unity after what had sometimes been a heated campaign. “We have to all work together to bring our city closer and closer together,” he said.

Ms. Parker appeared to have cobbled together a winning coalition of white liberals and gay people, who were expected to turn out in large numbers.

Rachel Marcus contributed reporting from Houston.

Sign in to RecommendMore Articles in US » A version of this article appeared in print on December 13, 2009, on page A34 of the New York edition.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/us...13houston.html
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:53 PM   #2
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I don't know anything about her politics, but I'm glad being gay doesn't necessarily mean a certain political death anymore.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:54 PM   #3
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She dont look much like a steer to me, so that kinda narrows it down
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:56 PM   #4
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Oh man, we already have our plane tickets to go to Houston for Christmas. I guess as a homophobic right-wing Christian yahoo I should cancel our trip as a protest.

Naaah.
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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“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.”
Thank God these two can't get married. Now that would be a threat to the rest of us and also, the children.
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:15 PM   #6
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Thank God these two can't get married. Now that would be a threat to the rest of us and also, the children.


i know, the nerve of that woman. standing there like she has a real family deserving of protection and equal status to to someone on their fourth or fifth marriage.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:49 PM   #7
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Oh man, we already have our plane tickets to go to Houston for Christmas. I guess as a homophobic right-wing Christian yahoo I should cancel our trip as a protest.

Naaah.

You should see if you can schedule an appointment with her to explain why she should be excluded from full Constitutional rights, though. I'm sure she'd appreciate your thoughts on the subject.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:53 PM   #8
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The city of Houston isn't exactly Nazi Germany... Harris County did go for Obama last year, after all.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:55 PM   #9
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it's not too surprising, but there's still an element of surprise - houston isn't austin, where you'd expect this a bit more!
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:57 AM   #10
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If she's a dumbass, Houston will suffer for it. If she's competent, the city will flourish. Not reducing her sexuality to a talking point is a fantastic step towards the latter.

For whatever reason, I wasn't stunned by this news though. Perhaps Houston and Austin are blending together a bit for me.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:25 AM   #11
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The city of Houston isn't exactly Nazi Germany... Harris County did go for Obama last year, after all.
Houston is still pretty damn conservative compared to the rest of the country.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:54 PM   #12
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You should see if you can schedule an appointment with her to explain why she should be excluded from full Constitutional rights, though. I'm sure she'd appreciate your thoughts on the subject.
Since the Texas constitution clearly states that "Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman," it should be a pretty quick chat.
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:09 PM   #13
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Status quo status quo definition definition

The TX constitution has always been right, one of the last to have sodomy laws. I thought you were against big government?
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:54 PM   #14
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Since the Texas constitution clearly states that "Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman," it should be a pretty quick chat.


you should mock her family while you're at it -- remind her how much better you are than she is.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:12 PM   #15
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Since the Texas constitution clearly states that "Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman," it should be a pretty quick chat.
Well then I guess you're going to have to discuss it with her if she ever tries to, you know, take the steps to change the Texas constitution.
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