Although Mayor Annise Parker has vowed that she and her longtime partner, Kathy Hubbard, will not wed until gay marriage is legal in Texas, in recent interviews the mayor has softened her stance.
"The world is changing so fast, maybe I won't wait that long," Parker said last week in a year-end interview with CultureMap when asked when she would marry. "I'm no longer worried that (gay marriage in Texas) is not going to happen in my lifetime. After the Supreme Court ruling and the number of states that now have equal marriage, it's coming."
"We each think we married up, and are constantly trying to impress each other after all these years. "
Since then CultureMap has learned that Parker and Hubbard are making wedding plans. Several sources close to the couple said they plan to marry in mid-January in a low-key ceremony in Palm Springs, Calif.
California is one of 18 states that currently recognize gay marriage. Couples who wed in a state that allows gay marriage are treated as a married couple for federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes, no matter where they reside, and also receive the same rights for immigration purposes. The policy on Social Security and other federal benefits has not been determined.
The couple would also be eligible for city of Houston health and life insurance benefits. In November, Parker announced that same-sex couples who have legally wed in a state that recognizes such marriages and work for the city of Houston can receive the same health care and life insurance benefits as straight couples. Harris County Republicans are challenging the ruling in court.
During the CultureMap interview Parker was asked what living person she most admires and named Hubbard. "Frankly, Kathy is the person I've lived with for the last 23 years. She is the most scrupulously honest person with the highest integrity that I have ever met," Parker said. "We each think we married up, and are constantly trying to impress each other after all these years. "
When asked to elaborate on the couple's wedding plans, the mayor's press secretary, Janice Evans, send this email: "The mayor very much appreciates the interest in the 23-year relationship she has shared with her life partner, First Lady Kathy Hubbard. However, marriage is a private matter and she has no announcements she wishes to make at this time. If that changes, we will let you know."
January is shaping up to be a busy month for Parker. She will inaugurated for her third — and final — term as mayor on Jan. 2.