Here’s another cause for celebration during the holiday season: the voters of Houston, TX, have elected Annise Parker mayor. Ms. Parker is a lesbian, making Houston the largest city in the United States headed by an openly gay person. She touched upon the importance of the moment 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.”
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 [as city controller]. 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.
We congratulate Ms. Parker and the Houston residents who voted for her.