The religious right once again thought a campaign of fear and bigotry would work. Tens of thousands of dollars funded attack mailers sent out to Houston voters. The same voters heard dark warnings about gays taking over their city’s government. Families and children, they were told, were in danger. It was, in short, a classic smear campaign designed to persuade voters that what mattered most when they entered the voting booth wasn’t what the candidates said about fiscal matters, transportation, city services and other issues typically important in a mayoral election. Oh no, they were told. What mattered most was the private life of one of the candidates and who she loved. What mattered most was that Annise Parker is gay, regardless of the fact that she was running on a record put together during a career that included six years on the City Council and six years as city controller.
But the religious right failed.
On Saturday a majority of voters rejected fear and bigotry, making Houston the nation’s largest city to elect an openly gay mayor. And in doing so they sent a strong message to the religious right: not in our city, not today, not anymore.