Houston Elects Openly Gay Mayor
Becomes biggest US city with homosexual at the helm
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 13, 2009 7:00 AM CST
Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, right, celebrates her runoff election victory with partner Kathy Hubbard, left, at a campaign party Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 in Houston.   (David J. Phillip)
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(Newser) – Houston became the largest US city to elect an openly gay mayor, with voters handing a solid victory to City Controller Annise Parker after a hotly contested runoff. Parker defeated former city attorney Gene Locke with 53.6% of the vote yesterday in a race that had a turnout of only 16.5%. "This election has changed the world for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community," Parker told supporters.

Parker, 53, has never made a secret or an issue of her sexual orientation. But it became the focus of the race after anti-gay activists and conservative religious groups endorsed Locke and condemned Parker's "homosexual behavior." Locke tried to distance himself from the anti-gay attacks while courting conservative voters. Meanwhile, gay and lesbian political organizations rallied to support Parker by raising money and working the phones.