Mayor Annise Parker was elected mayor of Houston via runoff in December 2009. Parker's election win bestowed her city the title of largest US city with an openly gay mayor. Parker won her next two elections without a runoff in 2011 and 2013. Mayor Parker is in her final term as Houston mayor. One of her items is pushing for a non-discrimination ordinance in Houston, similar to what San Antonio enacted in September 2013.
Parker got her start in Houston politics with her involvement in LGBT issues in the 1970s and 1980s. Her first attempts at elected office were unsuccessful runs for city council in 1991 and 1995. 1997 was a breakthrough year when she won an At-Large seat becoming the first openly LGBT person elected to any office in Houston. In 2003, Parker was elected city controller and served three consecutive two-year terms.
On 16 January 2014, Parker married her wife Kathy Hubbard in Palm Springs, CA. They have been together since 1990. The couple lives in Houston with their two adopted daughters and foster son.
Mayor Parker is no stranger to giving keynote addresses. She was a keynoter at the 2012 Texas Democratic Party convention in Houston and introduced former Congressman Barney Frank at the 2013 Texas Stonewall Democrats biennial conference.
In this keynote address to California Democrats, Mayor Parker reveals what the gay agenda is.
"I've been a lesbian activist for 40 years. And it's hard to break a habit... I have been saying for 40 years [that] there is no such thing as a gay agenda. But I'm here to tell you that that is not true. There is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender agenda, and I'm going to tell you what it is."
"We want to be able to go to school in safety. We want to be able to serve our country honorably. We want to be able to work at jobs we love so that we can pay taxes to the country that sustains us, and we want to protect the relationships and families that nurture us. That is the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender agenda."
- Houston Mayor Annise Parker, 8 March 2014
But I also think there is another telling quote in her speech. Mayor Parker points out that for too long the Republican Party has dominated the conversation that they are the party of faith, freedom, and family values. That is proving to be a myth when they pass laws such as Texas' Merry Christmas Bill, support legislation that allows for the denial of services to LGBT persons based on religious differences, cut funding for food stamps, and continuing to vote to defund "ObamaCare" (the House has taken their 50th vote to do so which is sadly the only thing the House has done since Republicans took control in January 2011).
Mayor Parker and Ms. Hubbard have provided a loving home for their three children.
It's one thing to say you are in favor of those things.
It's another to act on those things.