Houston elected its first openly gay mayor on Saturday in a run-off election between two Democrats. Annise Parker, formerly the city’s controller beat city attorney Gene Locke by garnering 53.6 percent of the vote, on a day of light turnout with just over 16 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots. Running on a platform of fiscal conservatism, Ms. Parker, survived an intense anti-gay campaign by conservatives and anti-gay activists to become the first gay, and second woman to serve as the mayor of Houston, but she is also the first lesbian to be elected as mayor of a major U.S. city. Houston ranks as the fourth largest city in the nation, with over 2 million people.
Annise Parker has been an elected official in the area for several years, and she has never hidden or made an issue of her sexual orientation. She has been with her partner for 19 years, and the couple has two adopted children, one would think that in itself would qualify her as a model citizen, but in the eyes of the conservative movement, she is unfit to serve.
Why should sexual orientation ever become an issue in a campaign for elected office? Unless the candidate’s sexual habits are illegal, the non-issue of sexual orientation should never come up.
Part of what makes Ms. Parker’s election remarkable is that the anti-gay movement led by conservatives and evangelicals has gotten ramped-up over the past couple years, with so many recent gay marriage referendums, and so many victories by social conservatives led by the Religious Right, the anti-gay movement is well-funded, well-organized, and more vocal than ever before, because they are convinced they have an angry and revengeful God on their side.
Anyone who would campaign against gay people is a hateful bigot just as much as someone who would campaign against someone because that person is black, or a Muslim or a Jew, or even someone who has a particularly foreign name. There is no difference when it comes to bigotry, it is driven by hate and suspicion, and eats away at the bigot’s own character.
What is inexplicable is the hypocrisy of the conservative stance. They claim to support diversity yet their actions belie that stance. Over the summer, the conservative movement launched a well-funded public campaign accusing President Barack Obama of being like Hitler, as they somehow, in the minds of their followers, made the bizarre correlation between health insurance reform and Adolf Hitler’s ethnic cleansing and death squads.
Conservatives claim to be the “real” patriots, and espouse that they fiercely uphold the concepts and words of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, yet they can’t get beyond the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence, our nation’s original definition of what the New World would become.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Conservatives are so wrapped up in their hate of anyone who doesn’t look, act and think like them that they conveniently overlook, and are unable to live up to the simple challenge of equality set forth in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. This declaration of equality for all is the most fundamental of all concepts of the American way of life, yet is unachievable by Conservatives because of their deep hate and fear of “them,” those “others” like the gays, those of “exotic” ethnicity, those of differing religious persuasion, gun control advocates, women who support Choice, and any other liberal supporter.
Conservatives are too closed-minded to live with anything so radical such as equality. They will stop at nothing to promote their endless campaign towards a theocratic state where all is pure and nobody is created equal, and all who don’t bow down to their god will suffer the wrath of oppression and live in hell on earth.
They tried this same conservative ideological campaign against Annise Parker, and tried to make her sexual orientation the issue, but the people of Houston didn’t listen. Congratulations Houston.
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