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Houston Elects First Openly Gay Mayor

Via The Associated Press: HOUSTON — Annise Parker made history Saturday by becoming Houston's first openly gay mayor, seizing 53.6 percent of the

Via The Associated Press:

HOUSTON — Annise Parker made history Saturday by becoming Houston's first openly gay mayor, seizing 53.6 percent of the vote in the city's hotly contested election.

"This election has changed the world for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. Just as it is about transforming the lives of all Houstonians for the better, and that's what my administration will be about," Parker told supporters after former city attorney Gene Locke conceded defeat.

Of the more than 152,000 residents who turned out to cast ballots in the fourth largest U.S. city Saturday, 81,652 chose Parker — some 11,000 votes more than were placed for Locke.

The election battle leading up to Saturday's balloting was marked by fierce campaigning and anti-gay rhetoric.

Parker is a lesbian who has never made a secret or an issue of her sexual orientation. But that orientation became focus of the race after anti-gay activists and conservative religious groups endorsed the 61-year-old Locke and sent out mailers condemning Parker's "homosexual behavior."

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(AP) Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, right, celebrates her runoff election victory with partner Kathy Hubbard, left, at a campaign party Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 in Houston. Parker defeated former city attorney Gene Locke making Houston the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor.

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