On January 1, 2010 Annise Danette Parker will be raising her right hand to take the oath of office as she's done several times since 1997.
This time it will be as the mayor of Houston.
Annise became the first graduate of Rice University and the second woman to win the office by beating city attorney Gene Locke in yesterday runoff election 53%-47%.
And yes, she also becomes the first open lesbian to become mayor of a large US city. I just wish I could have been there to cast a ballot for her like I did in the 1997-1999 election cycles.
"Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the doors to history,” Parker said. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who thought we could never achieve high office. I know what it means. I understand, because I feel it, too. But now, from this moment, let us join as one community. We are united in one goal in making this city the city that it can be, should be, might be, will be.”
I am so proud of my hometown right now. Once again we made history and blew away another stereotype about H-Town.
Annise has been doing the job as an at-large city council member and the city controller. Her endorsements from labor, police, women's groups, gay rights and other groups reflected that and were echoed by the Houston Chronicle endorsement she received.
Thanks to her campaign's superior get-out-the-vote effort, my fellow Houstonians said no to Hotze's Nazis and the Black conservafool ministers that wanted to make her sexual orientation an issue.
Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which endorsed Parker, said her victory holds tremendous significance for the gay community.
"This is a watershed moment in American politics. Annise was elected by fair-minded people from across the city because of her experience and competence, and we're glad Houston soundly rejected the politics of division. This victory sends a clear signal that gays and lesbians are an integral part of American civic life, that we're willing to lead, and that voters will respond to candidates who are open and honest about their lives," Wolfe said.
My old friend Ray Hill, the dean of Houston's GLBT activist community, had this to say about last night's historic win for Annise.
“For me, it means 43 years of hard work has finally paid off,” Hill said. “For Houston, it means we have finally reached the point where being gay cannot be used as a wedge issue to divide the community and prevent us from reaching our aspirations. Annise Parker is not our mayor — she is the city's mayor.”
She won, haters! Read the election results and weep!
Congratulations Madame Mayor elect. Can't wait to see you take the oath of office at the Wortham Center.