Washington Governor Gregoire Signs Marriage Equality into Law

With Gov. Christine Gregoire's signature, marriage equality becomes law in the state of Washington.

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, February 13, 2012, Governor Christine Gregoire signed marriage equality into law in Washington state.  Both houses of the state legislature had voted in favor of same-sex marriage last week.

Washington becomes the seventh U.S. state to legalize gay marriage.  The others are New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.  Same-sex couples can also marry in the District of Columbia.  Legislatures in Maryland and New Jersey are also considering measures that would equalize the marriage playing field for same-sex couples.

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Houston Newspaper “Chronicles” the Life and Times of Annise Parker, the City’s New Mayor-elect

From the front page of today's Houston Chronicle

Now that initial surprise is wearing off that the fourth-largest city in the U.S. will soon have a top official who is gay, more in-depth stories about mayor-elect Annise Parker and those close around her are appearing in the media.  Today’s Sunday Houston Chronicle included articles by Joe Holley on Parker as well  as her partner Kathy Hubbard.  While the article on Kathy appeared both in the print and online editions (read it here), the article “Not So Shy Now” about the mayor-to-be appeared only in the print version as the lead photo story on page one that jumped to page eight, which it filled completely.  The Chronicle‘s sister paper, The Dallas Morning News, carried a shorter, redacted version of the Holley article online.

By reading news media and blogs from all over the world, it is evident that Annise Parker’s recent election here in Houston has grabbed the attention of those far afield from the Bayou City.  As of yet, no archives of the longer version seem to be available.  I have saved mine to pdf files (because I think it’s a piece of history work keeping).

Annise Parker Will Hold City of Houston’s Highest Political Office; It’s Official! Nation’s 4th Largest City Elects Openly Gay Mayor

Annise Parker--Mayor-Elect of Houston

According to Harrisvotes.org with 733 out of 734 precincts reporting Annise Parker with 81,652 votes is defeating Gene Locke who has 70,631 votes, in other words, by about 54% to 46%.

This was a run-off election for this office as well as other local positions.  Turn-out for run-off elections in Houston has been traditionally low. (That’s for you complainers who on other sites have been commenting that only a small percentage of Houston’s population voted for Annise.  That’s been the way it has been for a long time.  City elections in Houston just don’t coincide with national and state elections, so the voters who do go to the polls really have an interest in voting.) Only a bit more than 150,000 ballots were cast, or about 15% of the registered voters in the fourth largest city of the U.S.  Houston has approximately 2.2 million people living within its city limits, but there around 6 million living in the Houston metro area.

Just to put things in perspective, Annise Parker has been selected to oversee a city that is larger than 15 states in the U.S. (including Nebraska, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Sarah Palin’s Alaska (which has about 600,000) and even quite a few countries in the world.

In commenting about Annise’s sexuality, some news sites have noted that Locke would have been only Houston’s second African-American mayor.  I haven’t seen anyone mention that Annise is just the second female mayor in its history.  Kathy Whitmire was Houston’s mayor from 1982 to 1991 during some of the city’s worst economic days–the oil “bust” of the mid-80s.  She was a popular mayor despite getting a lot of flack from the “good ol’ boys”.

Maybe Annise’s election will  shine new light on our city and show people in other parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world what a fresh, diverse city Houston has become.

I met Annise for the first time more than 20 years ago and have always found her personable and most of all real.  She is a person, whom I think, will be a mayor whom all Houstonians can be proud and will make the naysayers change their minds.

Congratulations, Annise!

(Read this Houston Chronicle article for more about Annise’s victory and the mayoral election.)