Editorial in LGBT magazine sparks controversy in Houston City Council District C race

Ellen Cohen

Ellen Cohen

An editorial in Houston’s abOUT magazine (a free glossy distributed at bars, restaurants and clubs) questions whether former state representative, and current Houston City Council District C candidate Ellen Cohen is truly an ally of the LGBT community, as she claims.

The editorial questions Cohen’s acceptance of $10,000 in contributions from home builder Bob Perry during her 2010 Democratic legislative campaign (Perry was a major donor to the campaign to pass a statewide constitutional ban on marriage equality in 2005) and her record on LGBT issues while in Austin. In the two weeks since abOUT published the editorial, written under the nom de plume “Jack H,” the issue has snowballed, causing some to question abOUT’s connections to another District C candidate, and leading to a police complaint against the president of the city’s oldest LGBT organization.

Cohen acknowledges that she received the contribution from Perry but says: “I’ve never met him, he’s never asked me for anything. I am a huge supporter of the LGBT community, and have been since long before I ran for office.” As executive director of the Houston chapter of the American Jewish Committee, Cohen was a vocal supporter of efforts in the ’80s to obtain same-sex partner benefits for city of Houston employees. “Bob Perry contributed to me. I accepted the donation,” continued Cohen.

—  admin