Monday, December 14, 2009

Houston becomes largest city with openly gay mayor

I may be later covering this, but, it’s true, Houston is the largest city (the nation’s fourth largest) to elect an openly gay mayor, Annise Parker.

I lived in Dallas from 1979-1988 mostly during the Reagan years, when AIDS erupted, in a much more conservative climate. Yet Dallas always seemed to be the more cosmopolitan of Texas’s two largest cities. Even so, in 1979 and 1980, police raids of gay bars in Dallas were common, until one defendant, a computer operator, stood up to a false charge and got a judge’s acquittal.

The media makes a lot of Parker’s win in a state that has outlawed gay marriage. But in 1982 a federal judge overturned the Texas sodomy law 21.06; the 5th Circuit would reverse in 1985. Laws like this would be upheld by Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986, but finally fall in 2003 with Lawrence v. Texas, based on 21.06.

Other cities with openly gay mayors include Portland, Ore., Providence, R.I., and Cambridge, Mass.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle's main story by Paige Hewitt.

Here’s the AP story by Monica Rhor.

Wikipedia link for USGS picture of Houston.

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