Press Release

Lesbian elected mayor of Houston, Texas

Sat, Dec 12th 2009, 18:22

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Denis Dison (202) 567-3308, denis.dison@victoryfund.org

Annise Parker Wins Runoff Election Despite Anti-Gay Attacks

Washington, D.C.--Houston, Texas has become the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor after City Controller Annise Parker was declared the winner of a runoff election tonight.  Social conservatives fought her election, funding a campaign aimed at turning out likeminded voters to support her opponent, former city attorney Gene Locke.  But Parker's endorsements from labor, police, women's, gay rights and other groups were echoed by the Houston Chronicle, the area's major daily newspaper, and her campaign ran a superior get-out-the-vote effort.

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.

Parker praised the support of the Victory Fund and its donors, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fund her campaign.  “I am so grateful to the Victory Fund and its supporters for believing in this campaign from the beginning.  This race was about the future of Houston, and whether we will face that future proud to be an open, welcoming, and fair-minded city.  Tonight Houstonians said yes to a future like that, and I am glad the Victory Fund helped make that happen,” Parker said.

Parker's election was the Victory Fund's top political priority in 2009, a year that saw 54 of its 79 endorsed openly gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender (LGBT) candidates elected to public office. 

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund is the only national organization dedicated to increasing the number of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elected officials at all levels of government.  Since its founding in 1991, the Victory Fund has helped grow that number from 49 to more than 450.

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