It’s no secret that the gay rights has seen its fair share of recent setbacks — Prop 8’s success, New York’s expected-but-still-shameful “no” vote, and now New Jersey looks to be coasting to the same conclusion. Although this string of defeats has led the disingenuous among us to question the inevitability of the gay rights movement, the trend broke last week with one dramatic victory, when Houston elected the city’s first gay mayor, 53/47.
Ms. Parker — despite her 19-year relationship, and her three adopted children, naturally the state won’t allow her to marry — succeeds Bill White, the city’s term-limited, hyper-popular Democratic mayor, who will attempt a state run.
In case you’re wondering what it looks like, when prejudice barriers start to fall, this is it. Houston is the most conservative of the major cities in the Texas Triangle (Obama carried Harris County 50.5% to 48.9%), and that an openly gay candidate can win in such a climate is a testament to her skill, and the electorate’s willingness to look past what used to be considered a weakness. Demystifying difference is the first step to ending prejudice, and Houston took that step last week.
And from one Rice alum to another — congratulations, Ms. Parker. What a triumph! I’ll even dispense with the requisite Jones-bashing.