Lesbian elected Houston Mayor

Sat. December 12, 2009 12:00 AM by Jay Shaff

annise parker wins hotly contested run-off election

Houston becomes largest U.S. city with a gay mayor

Houston, TX - The city of Houston has elected an openly gay woman as it's 61st Mayor.

Saturday's runoff election, which has been tainted by anti-gay rhetoric, places City Comptroller Annise Parker, a Democrat, as Mayor in the fourth biggest-biggest U.S. city with over 2 million residents. Other big U.S. cities like Portland, Oregon and Providence, Rhode Island have openly gay mayors, but Houston is now the largest.

"The voters of Houston have opened the door to history," Parker told supporters at a convention center in Houston. "I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office."

Hate filled efforts by decidedly right wing conservatives, tantamount to those used during the civil rights plights of the 1960's, fell short as voters have apparently voted based on qualification and not sexual identity.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Parker's opponent, former City Attorney Gene Locke, fell short by 53.6-48.4%.

Of the 2 million Houston residents, an estimated 60,000 identify as gay and lesbian.

Following recent gay marriage defeats in Maine, New York, withdrawal of a vote in the New Jersey Senate, and court setbacks in California. Parker's win is much needed to rally the gay community's equality interests.