Mayor Parker (Houston) getting political pushback on gay marriage support
Mayor Annise Parker's determination to be known as a competent leader who happens to be lesbian is being challenged by political opponents promulgating the idea that she's becoming a gay activist to the detriment of the city.
In the first two months of her second term, Parker helped deliver a call by mayors nationwide for the legalization of same-sex marriage, proclaimed Valentine's Day as Freedom to Marry Day in Houston and said on cable radio that President Barack Obama needs to "evolve" toward support of marriage equality.
Emboldened by Parker's poor showing in November in which she barely avoided a runoff and by the victories by two opponents of gay marriage who became the first challengers to unseat City Council incumbents in 12 years, social conservatives have gone on the attack. They accuse Parker of reneging on a campaign promise to put the city first and social issues advocacy second, and they charge her with violating the Texas Constitution by advocating for a change to it.
"What they're saying is, 'We smell blood,'" said Rice University political science professor Bob Stein, whose wife previously served as Parker's agenda director.