Over the weekend, Houston, TX became the largest city to elect an openly gay mayor as city controller. Annise Parker, an open lesbian, claimed a solid victory over her rival; Parker had 53 per cent of the vote and her opponent Gene Locke (who is also a Democrat) had 47 per cent. Hardly surprising, throughout her campaign she enjoyed the support of gay and lesbian political organizations nationwide. Parker has worked in Houston as a city administrator for the past 1 years, both on the city council and as city controller. Parker will take office in January 2010; she will replace Bill White who could not run because of term limits.
This is not just a victory for gay rights, but also for women's rights as well. Her election also made her the second woman to become mayor of Houston. It will interesting to see what affect her election will have on the issue of gay rights in the state. A few years ago, Houston rejected a referendum to offer benefits to same-sex partners of city workers. Also, in the state of Texas, gay marriage is against the law.
Smaller cities in the United States, such as Portland, Oregon, Providence, Rhode Island, and Cambridge Massachusetts also have openly gay mayors.
Congratulations to Parker for becoming the first openly gay woman to be mayor of a major American city!