At the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last Thursday, openly lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker discussed President Obama's unexpected evolution on marriage equality, noting that she "got some flack" for stating in an interview earlier in the year that the President "needed to evolve," a process which she said has now moved civil rights groups to support full LGBT equality.
Parker also weighed in on the role of the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans, a topic about which Congressman Barney Frank stirred controversy a day earlier at the convention when he said the group's role model is "Uncle Tom," invoking an angry counterattack from the group, which in return prompted a strong response by the gay Democratic group, National Stonewall Democrats, defending Frank. Parker at first quipped, "Who?" when asked about the group before more seriously noting that it is important to "stay engaged" in both parties but not at the expense of "self-respect and dignity,' which she called, "frankly, self-hating."
"I actually talked about that [in an interview with you earlier in the year]," Parker responded on my SiriusXM OutQ radio program at the DNC, regarding the president's coming out for marriage equality. "I said the president needed to evolve, and I got some flack for that. And he evolved. Who knew? It was really fast."
Parker noted that the results were only positive.
"In fact, good things happened because when he made his public declaration that he changed his mind, the NAACP took a vote [supporting marriage equality]," she said. "[The League of Latin American Citizens], took a vote [supporting marriage equality]. These major civil rights organizations now really are allied on this issue."
"They're advocating gay rights," she continued. '"It's really clear to anybody who spends any time at all in popular culture and with young people in America, that this is a war that has already been won with young people. Full equality in this country is going to be in our lifetimes. It's moving at lightning speed. It's a confluence of a whole lot of different things happening. But we cannot discount the power of this electronic culture to link people together, and to have ideas, good and bad, go around the world in a heartbeat."
Offering her thoughts on why the Republican Party is so far behind, still seeking to ban gay marriage in the Constitution in its party's platform this year, Parker said the GOP is "scared" of "too much change."
"The world that many of those in the Republican Party grew up in is lost for good," she explained, "and they don't want to realize that, and are trying to cling [to the past.]"
Asked about the Log Cabin Republicans, whose leaders said they felt more welcome at the Republican National Convention in Tampa two weeks ago and who came under attack by Congressman Barney Frank at the DNC, Parker at first had a one-word answer.
"Who?" she quipped, then repeated herself. "Who?"
"I think it is important for people to stay engaged in both parties, and I was joking," she explained. "But I do think it's important for GLBTs to stay engaged in both parties. But not at that at the price of your self-respect and dignity. And it is great to be a gay Republican and to say, "My party has left me behind. I can't support it this time until they get on the right track. I support this, this and this issue as a Republican, but until they treat me personally, and my relationships, fairly, I can't support them.' Anything else is, frankly, self-hating."
Listen to the full interview: