Annise Parker, Houston mayor, weds long-time partner Kathy Hubbard in California

Mayor Parker told Eyewitness News shortly after she tied the knot in California that her day and wedding were 'lovely' and 'wonderful' (City of Houston)
January 17, 2014 8:36:10 AM PST
Houston Mayor Annise Parker married her long-time partner, Kathy Hubbard, in a California wedding Thursday.

Sister station KTRK-TV was the only Houston television station in Palm Springs for the wedding, and Mayor Parker told the station shortly after she tied the knot that her wedding was "lovely."

"We had a beautiful day," Parker said.

The city of Houston says Parker and Hubbard were married before a small group of people Thursday on the 23rd anniversary of their relationship. Parker's mother and Hubbard's sister were on hand for the exchange of vows, which were presided over by the Reverend Paul Fromberg, a family friend from San Francisco.

"Oh absolutely glorious. I didn't get to make her inauguration last month -- the first I've missed. And the fact that she invited me here is just tremendous. I really can't say enough," Parker's aunt, Evelyn Parker, said.

Two other close friends from Houston, Judge Steve Kirkland and Mark Parthie, served as the attendants and formal witnesses. In August of last year, Mayor Parker said she had hoped to get married in Houston.

"I hope someday to have the opportunity to marry the person I've loved and shared my life with for 23 years," said Parker. "I want to do it in Texas, but that might be a long time coming."

Word of the mayor's wedding plans first leaked last month, her press office told Culture Map, "Marriage is a private matter," and repeated the phrase again and again. But the mayor of America's fourth-largest city getting married to her same-sex partner is not likely to stay a private matter.

"This is about a bigger political agenda for her," Harris County GOP chair Jared Woodfill said.

Woodfill filed a lawsuit last month after the mayor signed an order extending city employee benefits to same-sex spouses married in states that recognize them. Hubbard has a successful business and may not need the insurance, but when the couple returns to Houston, Hubbard would be eligible.

"The fact she is going to another state and then will come back and live and enjoy the benefits of her unilateral, executive, unlawful order represents that really, the worst in a politician," Woodfill said.

Politically, it may not hurt Parker, who wants to run for statewide office. Texas polls show increasing support for gay marriage; 46 percent of Houstonians support full marriage rights; 39 percent of all Texans do. Both numbers are on the rise.

"She's never really wanted to make this a political issue," Rice University Political Scientist Mark Jones said.

The newlywed mayor is now in her last term, and Jones tells us she is branching out.

"Now that she doesn't have to run for re-election as mayor and now she's expanding and broadening her scope, I think she feels freer to explore it as a policy issue without politicizing it," he said.

In addition to Woodfill's lawsuit, gay rights activists are suing to make sure the benefits are honored.