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11/16/2009

Houston, we have a lesbian: Anti-gay space cadets hope to oust out Parker

by Jeremy Hooper

Annise-ParkerAnnise Parker is many things. A Houston, TX resident. A current City Controller and candidate for mayor. A victor in the initial round of voting. A lesbian. A forty-three-year-old. A Democrat. A blonde.

But leave it to the socially conservative Christians from the Houston area to isolate one particular characteristic and use it against Ms. Parker:

“The bottom line is that we didn't pick the battle, she did, when she made her agenda and sexual preference a central part of her campaign,” said Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council, numbering more than 200 senior pastors in the Greater Houston area. “National gay and lesbian activists see this as a historic opportunity. The reality is that's because they're promoting an agenda which we believe to be contrary to the concerns of the community and destructive to the family.”
Ministers, conservatives work for Parker's defeat [Chron]

Yes, that's right -- because Ms. Parker, like every last hetero candidate under the American flag, has acknowledged her sexual orientation, the far-right in her area is trying to derail her campaign. They are turning her life into a "lifestyle," and her platform into an "agenda." And rather than get her on the issues, they are choosing to make an issue out of the fact that she's gay. All in the name of God.

And don't think it's just the fringe that's getting behind this, either. The Houston Chronicle also reports:

Parker's opponent, former City Attorney Gene Locke, strongly distanced himself from a previous anti-gay attack against her that ultimately proved to have been a hoax. But he has made recent efforts to court some of the staunch social conservatives who are either actively planning on attacking Parker's sexuality or strongly considering it.

He appeared at the Pastor Council's annual gala last Friday and was encouraged several times by State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, a featured speaker, to stand for conservative values.

Locke has also met with and sought the endorsement of Dr. Steven Hotze, a longtime local kingmaker in conservative politics and author of the Straight Slate in 1985, a coterie of eight City Council candidates he recruited who ran on an anti-gay platform.


So it looks like yet another candidate (this time a fellow Democrat) is on the cusp of turning his gay opponent into a piece of red meat that he can throw to his anti-equality potentials. Is it surprising? Unfortunately no, since this nation's gay-baiting track record is pretty close to 100%. But consistency doesn't make it any less enraging.

**RELATED: Editorial blasts anti-gay campaign targeting Parker [GayPolitics.com]

**CORRECTION
: In an earlier version of this post, we mistakenly referred to Locke as a Republican. Sorry for the error.

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Your thoughts

It is enraging, and doesn't get any less so the more it happens. I'm hoping that this latest piece of overt homophobia will backfire. The Rhode Island Gov who vetoed burial rights for LGBT couples is now supporting domestic partnerships only a few days later. The Mormon Church was forced to support us in Salt Lake City after some very bad PR. The Catholic Church has outraged not just LGBT people but many others, too, by threatening to pull social services from DC if the city should support same-sex marriage. Fingers crossed that this hatred in Houston will backfire in a major way. Even the prejudiced seem to have their limits.

Posted by: Ken Harvey | Nov 16, 2009 9:50:41 AM

Since elections are based on popularity, I doubt that anything can be done, legally, to assist Ms. Parker. Especially since ENDA has not been passed. Texans are notoriously religious, so I doubt there is any help we can effect.

Posted by: Mykelb | Nov 16, 2009 10:43:00 AM

Isn't Locke also a Democrat? I just think that's unclear in your article, where it seems it's "another Republican attack." Not to excuse it as I feel a former civil rights worker AND Democrat will be doubly damned for traveling down this road in an effort to win an election.

Posted by: Eric | Nov 16, 2009 11:51:05 AM

It wasn't unclear, Eric -- it was an outright mistake. i thought Locke was a Republican.

Changing it now. Thanks for catching it.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 16, 2009 12:00:21 PM

Not a problem! I think it unleashes even more, though; as I said, it's just horrific for me to envision a civil rights worker and attorney bowing down to REPUBLICAN scare tactics because he craves a victory so much.

I'm glad I told my boyfriend I'd be donating to Annise Parker last week as I fully suspected this sort of angle would come out in the runoff...now I'm doubling down my contribution.

Posted by: Eric | Nov 16, 2009 12:18:54 PM

It will be interesting to see how people who call themselves conservatives vote in this race, according to what I've heard, Annise Parker is the more conservative candidate on most issues. Will they vote based on the issues or will they vote to stop the lesbian no matter what her political views.

Posted by: Ken | Nov 16, 2009 12:34:26 PM

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