Ministers attack Parker, warning of 'gay takeover' of Houston city hall

Posted on 14 Nov 2009 at 7:49am

Annise Parker
Annise Parker

The Houston Chronicle reports that ministers and other right-wing conservatives are making Annise Parker’s sexual orientation an issue in the runoff for Houston mayor. They say they are concerned about a “gay takeover” of city hall.

Candidates in two of the five runoff races for city council are also gay, and Parker would be the first openly gay person elected mayor of a top 10 U.S. city.

The newspaper says that the ministers blame Parker for making sexual orientation an issue in the race.

Really?

I understand they’re just reporting what the ministers say, but has anyone at the Chronicle talked to Parker? Has anyone at the Chronicle talked to anyone in her campaign? Have any of these ministers talked to her? Try it. They’re all really approachable.

“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,” the head of Houston Area Pastor Council was quoted as saying in the Chronicle.

While Parker is clear about who she is (she has a partner of 20 years and two children), she does not make an issue of her sexual orientation.

I asked a senior member of her campaign staff if the campaign was ready for attacks like this that would inevitably surface during the runoff.

Answer: “Well, David, we plan to stay focused on the issues. Annise has a plan to take care of the flooding problems we have here in Houston. … ”

Question to Parker: Are you ready for the attacks that will come the way they were hurled at Ed Oakley in the runoff here?

Answer: “David, we plan to stay focused on the issues. I’m interested in safe streets …” and keeping families and children safe.

What bothers these ministers is that she doesn’t lie. She doesn’t hide. She’s open and honest about who she is. Interesting that these qualities bother ministers.

This week, Parker released her tax returns. (So far, her opponent has not.) But not only did she release her own tax returns, she released her partner’s returns. She didn’t have to because she’s not legally married. But she did, because she doesn’t want to be accussed of hiding anything.

So how is she being criticized? People are suggesting that by releasing her partner’s tax returns along with her own, they’re presenting themselves as a married couple.

Yes, a married couple that would have paid quite a bit less had they been allowed to file jointly.

— David Taffet

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