November 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm EST | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: November 11

Annise Parker. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Parker wins re-election as Houston mayor

HOUSTON — The lesbian mayor of Houston will not face a run-off after receiving 51 percent of the vote on Tuesday.

Houston became America’s largest city with an openly gay mayor in 2009 with the election of Annise Parker, the former city controller. In Tuesday’s race, Parker faced five opponents, making her one-round majority victory a notable achievement. Parker will be eligible to campaign for one more two-year term after this term is up in 2013.

Houston also elected to a brand new city council district openly gay attorney Mike Laster, the first openly gay man elected to city council, following Parker who became the first openly lesbian Houston City Council member in 1997. However, transgender Houston City Council candidate Jenifer Rene Pool did not join Parker and Laster in celebrating wins on Tuesday.

Holyoke elects nation’s youngest gay mayor

HOLYOKE, Mass. — A Springfield suburb of nearly 40,000 people elected the nation’s youngest openly gay mayor Tuesday.


Alex Morse, 22, is a graduate of Brown University with a degree in urban studies, and — according to his campaign site — is the first college graduate in his family. According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Morse founded ‘Holyoke for All,’ the city’s first LGBT non-profit organization, and was a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s LGBT Commission. Morse was also mentored by former Providence, R.I. Mayor and current Congressman David Cicilline.

Also Tuesday night, Chatham Borough, N.J. elected Bruce Harris mayor. He is likely the nation’s first openly gay, African-American Republican mayor, according to the Victory Fund.

Lesbian prevails in Charlotte Council race

CHARLOTTE — LaWana Mayfield made history Tuesday night, becoming the first openly LGBT city council member in Charlotte history.

According to North Carolina LGBT newspaper, QNotes, Democrat Mayfield defeated Republican Ed Toney 78-22 percent. She defeated controversial incumbent Democrat Warren Turner, who had been accused of sexual harassment last year by several female city employees.

In addition to Mayfield’s election, LGBT blog Pam’s House Blend is reporting anti-gay Durham N.C. mayoral candidate, Pastor Sylvester Williams was soundly defeated by incumbent Bill Bell. Williams is a major backer of an expected 2012 ballot initiative amending the N.C. Constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples, and campaigned on a strong anti-gay platform.


Traverse City to retain LGBT non-bias ordinance

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Residents of the northwest Michigan resort town of Traverse City voted by a 2-to-1 margin to retain a nondiscrimination ordinance containing explicit protections for LGBT citizens.

“The people of Traverse City have sent a clear message that they value their LGBT friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members and don’t want to see them left vulnerable to discrimination,” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director, Rea Carey, said in a statement. “This victory creates a stronger and more welcoming city not only for LGBT people and their families, but for everyone.”

Gay candidates win big in local elections

WASHINGTON — A slew of LGBT election night wins swept the nation Tuesday night, with key city council wins in a handful of states., an LGBT blog, announced late Tuesday Zach Adamson’s win in the at-large Indianapolis city council election, becoming the city’s first openly gay city council members. Adamson — a board member with Indiana Stonewall Democrats — was one of three openly gay candidates on the Indianapolis city council ballot, but appears to be the only candidate to cross the finish line.

LGBT activists are calling Michael Smith’s defeat of Largo, Fla., incumbent city commissioner Mary Gray Black a double sweet victory. Black led an effort to fire transgender former city manager Susan Stanton, who had been city manager for more than 14 years until her 2007 termination after announcing she was transitioning.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund also announced the election of Fund-endorsed candidate and out lesbian, Caitlin Copple to the Missoula, Mont. City Council, defeating an incumbent who voted against an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. Also winning city council elections Tuesday night were openly gay candidates Chris Seelbach in Cincinnati and Ryan Mello in Tacoma, Wash.



  • The state of the city and its finances are conspicuous absent from your article. No one of current political clout was interested in the election because they would inherit city on the verge of bankrupcy.

    I entered the race on the last filing day because no one was challenging the Mayor and her policies. The election was a non event that with the Mayor’s money and her ability to keep the electorate’s eye off the city finances and pension problems. She ran in 2009 as a fiscal conservative with the experience of the Controllers office. Obama congratulated her over the telephone on her win. When she came out to meet her supporters she said it was a victory for the Gay, Lesbian’ and transgender community. The voters knew about her lifestyle but that was not the reason most voted for her. Sadlly to say she let us down.

    Can she keep the State from taking over Houston’s finances and pension plans or will she take the City into banckrupcy? Or What? She avoided a runoff by a hair. It will be more difficult to recover from the mess she has created…..going back to when she was the Controller to the present.

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