It was bound to start up again at some point- attacks on Houston Mayoral candidate Annise Parker, not based on any critique of her policy positions or campaign plans, but on her being a lesbian. Granted, Annise has been an out elected official for multiple elections and has hardly made the issue anywhere close to central as part of her campaign this year, but that won't stop the anti-gay forces from spinning a web of lies.
Houston Chronicle: A cluster of socially conservative Houstonians is planning a campaign to discourage voters from choosing City Controller Annise Parker in the December mayoral runoff because she is a lesbian, according to multiple ministers and conservatives involved in the effort.
The group is motivated by concerns about a “gay takeover” of City Hall, given that two other candidates in the five remaining City Council races are also openly gay, as well as national interest driven by the possibility that Houston could become the first major U.S. city to elect an openly gay woman.
Another primary concern is that Parker or other elected officials would seek to overturn a 2001 city charter amendment that prohibits the city from providing benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees.
“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.”
The worst part is her opponent Gene Locke is courting the same awful people.
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.
It's nice to see the Houston Chronicle editorialize against these hate-mongering forces.
Houston deserves better. Our city has a well-earned reputation for tolerance and openness. We don't need inflammatory appeals to folks' worst instincts.
We've been here before. In 1997 a small-minded ballot initiative would have ended the city's affirmative action program that helped minority and women contractors. Mayor Bob Lanier went on the air in an ad that bluntly stated his opposition to a proposal that would “turn back the clock to the days when guys who look like me got all the city's business.”
Lanier couldn't have been more clear: Discrimination is just not right.
It was a powerful moment of leadership. The referendum went down to defeat, and news outlets around the country marveled that a “wealthy white developer” had taken the lead on affirmative action.
It's time for another such moment of leadership.
The rhetoric of people like Steven Hotze and Dave Welch carries a high cost. Their support should not be purchased at the price of bigotry.