Monday, December 14, 2009

Houston, we have progress

I don't follow local Texas politics, and so I didn't see this coming, but... wow:

Annise Parker made history Saturday as Houston's first openly gay mayor.

Parker, who served five years as city controller, beat former city attorney Gene Locke with 53.6 percent of the vote in a runoff election.

Both are Democrats who faced off for the second time because neither emerged with more than 50 percent of the vote in the November 3 election.

"Houston is a multiracial, multicultural, international city," said Parker before the vote, "And I think my election will send a message to the world that Houston is a city that might surprise a lot of folks."

Well... yeah. I might have expected this in Austin, but Houston? Well, I suppose Houston shouldn't be lumped in most of the rest of Texas.

So, Houston, well done.


I must add that Parker's personal story makes a great case for same-sex marriage and for gay rights generally -- you know, because there are many, many anti-gay bigots who believe, stupidly, that homosexuality is essentially a gateway to polygamy, bestiality, etc.

Parker has been with her partner for 19 years. The couple has two adopted children.

Now, let me be clear, I don't think there should be legalized same-sex marriage only on the basis of committed monogamy -- as far as I'm concerned, it's a matter of basic civil rights, and gays and lesbians should be allowed to enter into marriage, conduct themselves in marriage, and exit marriage just as heterosexuals do -- but I realize that there are many skeptics out there who need to see for themselves that gays and lesbians aren't amoral perverts who reject societal norms. Unfortunately, such ignorance is widespread, and Parker, as a visible, successful leader, can do a great deal to counter it.

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