On their first day as newlyweds, Mayor Parker and wife Kathy Hubbard went sight-seeing in the mountains, underneath the California sun.
Parker said, "We've been here only once before, so we don't have a big connection to Palm Springs. But we love the desert so we wanted to be married somewhere in the desert."
Their wedding was intimate. They were married surrounded by mountains they love so much and among 20 adored guests.
Hubbar said, "I would've loved to go to New York where my parents live and enjoy it up in Buffalo, New York, and Niagara Falls."
"But there's a reason we're not in Buffalo this time of year," Parker explained.
Their timing was planned. January 16th is their 23rd anniversary.
"We've been hinting because it's been really hard to keep it a secret," Parker said. "It's been hard. We've been excited! "
Now, it is a union recognized by the government, albeit not in Texas.
Parker said, "Each year as we approached January 16, as more and more states have allowed marriage, we've looked at each other and said, 'Do we want to do it now?' We always said, 'No, we want to wait for Texas.' But we just got tired of waiting."
They had their choice of more than one dozen states that now recognize same sex marriage, but chose California, and they say, it is just perfect.
"The world is changing around us, and hearts can't wait at some point," Parke r said.
"I'm just so pleased," Hubbard said. "I've just been kind of walking on air and I can just say wow! She's mine!"
The couple will be honeymooning in California through the weekend, and they say they are planning a public reception in Houston after they return.
Among the conservative members of city council, the response to Mayor Parker's wedding was muted.
"I'm not surprised," said Houston council member Jack Christie. "I'm just happy for the mayor."
Even new council member Michael Kubosh, who clashed with Mayor Parker on the red light camera issue, didn't want to wade into the very personal decision of getting married, saying to a certain extent, love is love.
"I sent her a text today from my wife and I, and I said I don't know how I can live with my life without being in love with someone to be with me every day," Kubosh said.
Mayor Parker has long stated she wanted to wait and get married in Texas, her home. That's what many members of Houston's GLBT community were also hoping to see. But they also say they're glad to see the mayor happy.
"I'm thrilled for her, I'm absolutely thrilled," said GLBT activist John Nechman. "She and Kathy have been a couple, a committed couple, a family for so long."
Politically, Parker has gone out of her way to say that she is the mayor of Houston, who happens to be gay. Even for Democratic activists, they say the mayor's decision is one they hope someday won't be a big deal.
Lane Lewis with the Harris County Democratic Party said, "I think it is a personal statement on their feelings and relationships, more than a political one. Hopefully one day this won't be a political or a media matter as well."
On Friday, Senator Dan Patrick released the following statement about Mayor Parker's wedding that reads, in part:
- "I am not shocked that Mayor Parker decided to elope to California for a marriage that is unconstitutional in Texas. This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California. She waited until after her November election to decree that the City of Houston will recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The Texas State Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman and Mayor Parker cannot change that."
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