Sunday, December 13, 2009

Houston Elects Openly Gay Mayor

Well you could have knocked me over with a feather. In a low turnout runoff election taking place in the midst of Hanukkah and the Christmas shopping season, Houston elected Annise Parker to be its next mayor. Or should I say the first openly gay woman to be its next mayor.

This, in a state that passed an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment by a whopping 76.25% (in Harris County, the vote was 72.47% For and 27.52% Against). This in a city whose voters voted down a city referendum to grant spousal benefits to city workers in 2001.

And yes, I remain ever the cynic that the results that Houston got were partly due to a low turnout election with 16.55% of registered voters even bothering to come out on a cold dreary day in mid-December to vote in a run-off election in an old-numbered year. Parker won by just over 11,000 votes in a city with nearly a million registered voters.

And while I am not a resident of Houston, I am nevertheless quite pleased with the outcome, as Houston has elected the best person for the job, and that’s good for people in my area. Living in the suburbs of Houston is much like what the Canadians say about being next to the United States – it’s like sleeping with an elephant. But I am also content with this outcome because of how supporters of Parker’s opponent, Gene Locke, went viral with their enlistment of anti-gay activists and evangelical crazies to help get out the anti-gay vote. How they went absolutely bat guano crazy in an effort to denounce Ms. Parker for her gayness. And about how Locke seemingly shrugged his shoulders helplessly at the anti-gay antics of his supporters, rejecting “any association with the style of campaigning”of these whackjobs, but refusing to denounce them.

Here is what he did say a month ago, from the Chron:

“‘If it's based solely on that one issue I've rejected them,’ Locke said when asked during a TV debate why he accepted Hotze's endorsement. ‘If it's based on looking at my record and seeing that I am the better candidate, I would accept them.’”
A statement that insults the intelligence. A statement as transparent as a pane of glass. We are judged not only by what we do, but by what we fail to do.

We really don’t need people like that in office. Not after the kind of homophobic behavior we saw in San Francisco city offices back in 1978 that resulted in the double murder of Mayor Moscone and City Commissioner Harvey Milk.

And in saying that I hope that Ms. Parker realizes that her victory yesterday is not, as the media talking heads are all saying, and indication of how things are changing in Texas. I think things are as bad as they ever were here and to prove my point I want to point to the number totals between the 2005 Harris County votes for Proposition 2, the anti-gay marriage amendment, and the 2009 Harris County votes for Annise Parker.

Parker netted a total of 81,743 votes in the election yesterday.

Total Harris County voters who voted against Proposition 2? 89,652.

And no, I don’t believe in coincidences.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for Houston.

Nice to see that many folks can look beyond sexual orientation when selecting the best for public office.

Looking at this from a "half full" perspective, I think it's great news and definitely progress.