Houston, in the US state of Texas, has become the largest American city to ever vote in an openly gay candidate as its mayor.
Annise Parker received 53.6 percent of the votes compared to her opponent, former City Attorney Gene Locke, who got only 46.4 percent of voters’ support.
Houston is the fourth largest city in the Unites States with a population of around 2.2 million people.
“Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the doors to history,” Parker said in her victory speech. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who thought we could never achieve high office. I know what it means. I understand, because I feel it, too. But now, from this moment, let us join as one community. We are united in one goal in making this city the city that it can be, should be, might be, will be.”
Parker is in a relationship with partner Kathy Hubbard, who was at her side during her speech.
Later, speaking on CNN, fifty three year old Parker said: “What I hope that this election signals is something larger than me and the GLBT community. It’s that Houston is a wonderful diverse international city that values people for what they can do more than who they are.”
LGBT activists have lauded Parker’s win. “Annise is an incredibly qualified and gifted public servant, who focused her campaign on public safety, the economy and the future of Houston,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
“She stood up to last minute anti-gay attacks with grace, courage and determination which carried the day. Houston sent a positive message to the nation, that it chose the best person for the job based on her experience and qualifications, while at the same time breaking another glass ceiling,” he said.