A cluster of socially conservative Houstonians is planning a campaign to discourage voters from choosing City Controller Annise Parker in the December mayoral runoff because she is a lesbian, according to multiple ministers and conservatives involved in the effort.
The group is motivated by concerns about a “gay takeover” of City Hall, given that two other candidates in the five remaining City Council races are also openly gay, as well as national interest driven by the possibility that Houston could become the first major U.S. city to elect an openly gay woman.
Another primary concern is that Parker or other elected officials would seek to overturn a 2001 city charter amendment that prohibits the city from providing benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees.
"The bottom line is that we didn't pick the battle, she did, when she made her agenda and sexual preference a central part of her campaign,” said Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council, numbering more than 200 senior pastors in the Greater Houston area. “National gay and lesbian activists see this as a historic opportunity. The reality is that's because they're promoting an agenda which we believe to be contrary to the concerns of the community and destructive to the family.”
So at this point you may be wondering, what does a good Democrat (sic) like Gene Locke have to do with this slime?
(Locke) strongly distanced himself from a previous anti-gay attack against her that ultimately proved to have been a hoax. But he has made recent efforts to court some of the staunch social conservatives who are either actively planning on attacking Parker's sexuality or strongly considering it.
He appeared at the Pastor Council's annual gala last Friday and was encouraged several times by State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, a featured speaker, to stand for conservative values.
Locke has also met with and sought the endorsement of Dr. Steven Hotze, a longtime local kingmaker in conservative politics and author of the Straight Slate in 1985, a coterie of eight City Council candidates he recruited who ran on an anti-gay platform. ...
Republican consultant Allen Blakemore, a longtime Hotze associate who spoke on his behalf, said he is considering mailing out a slate of endorsed runoff candidates, and Parker's sexuality is a “key factor” in his decision.
Ah, the exquisite stench emanating from Harris County's freak right: Stephen Hotze, Dan Patrick, Allen Blakemore. And all of their minions. Did I forget to mention Paul Bettencourt? Although he thinks Locke isn't coming out forcefully enough against gay rights.
Former Harris County Tax Assessor Collector Paul Bettencourt, another Republican close to Hotze, said that if Locke wishes to unite a strong African-American base with social conservatives, they will need his assurance that he will not seek to overturn the charter amendment.
Responding to the same debate question as Parker last month, Locke said same-sex benefits allow governments and businesses “a competitive advantage” and said he “would favor that,” although it would not be the first thing on his plate.
“That's not going to motivate us to come out and vote for somebody,” Bettencourt said of social conservatives. “You cannot get the positive good conservative turnout if you're trying to undo charter amendments. It's a line drawn in the sand. You just can't have it both ways.”
Kuffner and Muse have more to say about this development. Locke's campaign is also doing something funny with Democratic precinct chairs' e-mail addresses, which is a far cry from gay-baiting the electorate but in keeping with a organization so desperate to win that they will do whatever it takes -- lie, cheat, steal, misinform, obfuscate, smear, and fear-monger.