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Houston's openly gay mayor marries longtime partner in California

Houston Mayor Annise Parker wields the gavel to open her first session of City Council after being inaugurated in Houston January 4, 2010. R
Houston Mayor Annise Parker wields the gavel to open her first session of City Council after being inaugurated in Houston January 4, 2010. R

By Andrea Lorenz

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Houston's openly gay mayor, Annise Parker, has wedded her longtime partner at a private home in California, even as her home state of Texas bans such same-sex marriages.

Parker and Kathy Hubbard were married on Thursday, the 23rd anniversary of their relationship, according to a statement from the mayor's office.

"We have had to wait a very long time to formalize our commitment to each other," Parker said in the statement.

About 75 percent of Texas voters in 2005 approved a state constitutional measure banning same-sex marriages. But the politics in the state's largest cities are far more progressive, with vibrant gay communities in places such as Houston, Dallas and Austin.

Parker was elected to her third and final term as mayor in November with little attention to her sexual orientation.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, currently serving her third term in office, is openly gay, as are city council members in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Houston.

Parker instituted a policy last year that allows married, same-sex partners of city employees to receive health insurance benefits, but her new wife will not be participating in that program, according to the statement.

The city's policy is being challenged in court by members of the Harris County Republican Party.

Parker and Hubbard have adopted two children together, a process she wrote about in the Huffington Post last year in which she talked about the discrimination they faced.

Parker and Annise are spending their honeymoon weekend in California, according to the mayor's office.

(Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Amanda Kwan)

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