Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker is scheduled to appear at a press conference tomorrow in Washington D.C. alongside a bi-partisan coalition of U.S. Mayors supporting an end to marriage discrimination. The announcement coincides with the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is scheduled to include Michael Bloomberg of New York, Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Jerry Sanders of San Diego, Thomas Menino of Boston and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.
According to Freedom to Marry, the organization coordinating the effort, “more than 70 Republican, Democrat and Independent mayors from cities across the country have pledged to support gay and lesbian couples’ freedom to marry. By joining the group, mayors hope to expand public and political support for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.” The full list will be released during the press conference on Friday, but Jackie Yodashkin, a spokeswoman for Freedom to Marry, told the Dallas Voice that Parker was the only Texas mayor on the list.
It’s no big surprise that Parker would support the effort. She is the first out LGBT mayor of a major U.S. city and she and her partner Cathy Hubbard have been together for over 20 years so she knows first hand the hardships of marriage discrimination. What is surprising is that no other Texas Mayor has signed on. You’d think that, at the very least, Austin’s Mayor Lee Leffingwell would jump at the chance or that the mayor of some small, unheard-of city would have the bravery to do the right thing, but Parker is standing alone, a loud clarion in the silence that surrounds her.
So the next time The Advocate or Community Marketing tries to tell you that Houston isn’t the best LGBT city in Texas, remind them which city’s mayor had the guts to stand up for equality, and which ones didn’t.