Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HCRP Concerned About Same Sex Marriage

Apparently, the Harris County Republican Party leadership is worried about something that has not occurred, despite the email sent out to Republicans recently. A favorite wedge issue for social conservatives has emerged. Houston mayor Annise Parker attended the national convention for mayors and spoke up for gay marriage rights. This is not a surprising development. She, however, has been clear that she will not pursue the issue as mayor of Houston. Nor will she pursue a change in the Texas constitution as mayor.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker seized the vanguard of a drive by 78 mayors Friday to win the equal rights of marriage for gay couples, donning a national leadership role that contrasts sharply with her low-key demeanor back home.

“This is an issue whose time has come,” Parker told the Houston Chronicle on Friday in Washington, where mayors from New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston and Tacoma, Wash., launched Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.

“I think that the issue is ripe, and mayors are stepping up.”

But the second-term Democrat underscored that she would not abandon her approach in Houston where she’s mayor first, a gay activist second.

“I didn’t ask my fellow mayors to step up and do this — this came from them,” Parker said.

Despite personal support for awarding same-sex couples the legal rights of married heterosexual couples, Parker said it was not her role to fight for an amendment to the Texas Constitution to override the state’s defense of marriage act or to win a ballot referendum to overturn it.

Nor was it her role to push to overturn the city’s voter-approved charter amendment banning same-sex couple benefits for city workers.

Those changes “are going to have to be something that is important to the citizens of Texas and the citizens of Houston who want to step up,” said Parker. “It needs to come from the community.”

Maybe the call for Republicans to call Mayor Parker's office or email her and tell her to keep things as they are was brought on when a small group of gay Houstonians asking for marriage licenses on Valentines Day and were refused. They then marched to City Hall and Mayor Parker spoke to them:

Once at city hall, Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major city, delivered a city proclamation honoring “Freedom to Marry Day,” which was cheered by the group. Parker is one of the chairs of the Mayors Freedom to Marry, a group to win the equal rights of marriage for gay couples.

She said about 90 mayors from around the country are on board with initiative that was started by straight mayors from some of the largest cities, who thought it was “the right thing to do.”

“It’s an issue that is close to my heart and important to me,” Parker said.

Parker has said previously that it was not her role to fight for an amendment to the Texas Constitution to override the state’s defense of marriage act or to win a ballot referendum to overturn it. However, she personally supports awarding same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples.

“I believe in the principle that all human beings are created equal…I believe in having the ability to fully protect the relationship that I’ve nurtured for 21 years,” she told the group.

This group was participating in an annual event - ten year running - sponsored by Family Marriage Equality Foundation.

It seems to me that Harris County Republicans - myself included - have much larger issues to deal with in this important election year. Sometimes social issues have to take a lesser role when the economic issues are so overwhelming. This is that time. Picking fights over non-existant issues is just silly. And, maybe just cynical. Either way, the Republicans in Harris County should expect better leadership decisions.

This is the email sent by HCRP:

Houston Mayor, Annise Parker,
calls to legalize same-sex marriage

In Washington DC, Mayor Parker announced her support of same-sex marriages to a group of other Mayors. Parker's stance is unacceptable to Texas voters as we already approved a Constitutional Amendment which supports traditional marriage; defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Please call Mayor Parker today at 713-837-0311 and email her at and tell her to support the Constitution and stand up for traditional marriage.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Jared Woodfill
Chairman, Harris County Republican Party

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