Originally Posted by urbanactivist
I'm really saddened to see comments like this one.
What people on the coasts seem to forget... equality is on-going, and every city has it's issues. Just how "tolerant" is New York if it's still enacting policies like Stop-and-Frisk? If a city like Houston... 2 million people in Texas... can elect an openly-gay mayor whom has raised 3 adopted kids with her partner (twice now... the first election was not a fluke), how "horrible" can it possibly be? If a city like San Antonio can pass domestic partner benefits, is it really that bad?
The relationship between states and major cities always presents conflict. The city of Houston appoints transgender judges, has special police and municipal sensitivity and equality training, and is working hard to grant domestic partner benefits again (it was enacted in 2001, only to be revoked by city-wide referendum).
What none of us need are continued put-downs like the one above. Equality is a fight that we all must win, and that requires shared work to overcome every loss, and shared celebration at every progression... no matter how big or small.
I don't think most people consider Houston a bastion of hate. What I do think people think - and rightfully so - is when you step outside the immediate core of the region, its politics can change drastically. You go from gay friendly and secular then convert to Tom DeLay country very, very quickly in a place like Houston.
But you know what? Change is also possible. Houston is growing because of international immigration, not people moving from other parts of the USA to Houston. Its dynamic, its multicultural, its changing. Just because Tom DeLay type politics controls such a large part of the area doesn't mean it has to be that way forever.
On the other side of the coin, most people think New York state passed gay marriage because of New York City. It just isn't so, the tie-breaking votes came from upstate. One key important voice was a Republican who won a Democratic seat in the State Senate right here in Buffalo. The old candidate who used to fill the seat supported gay marriage, and the Republican (who represents suburban Buffalo, Amherst and Clarence townships) named Mark Grisanti switched his support in favor of it. Along with some other upstate politicians, it put New York over the 50% mark.
New York state passed gay marriage with a Republican controlled Senate. Republican controlled... Now, there is an underlying story here, every single Democrat except for a few voted for gay marriage, only a handful of Republicans switched over (most notably upstate politicians), but the key story is the Republicans allowed it to be voted on. They didn't stonewall the vote and keep it from happening.
In other words, there are vast differences between the states. If New York's Republican controlled State Senate could allow a vote that led to gay marriage, it shows that the state has a more moderate Republican party and a more liberal Democratic party than most states.
These are real differences, and they exist outside the city. Buffalo is a very liberal city, the number of Democrats to Republicans in Erie County is nearly 3:1 ratio. Rochester is a very liberal city. And its not just union membership (union membership in Buffalo is about as rare these days as it is in the south), its very much a socially progressive area. Buffalo flew the gay pride flag for like two weeks in front of city hall in June, as it does every year.
Smaller Texas cities aren't the same. Midland? Waco? Even San Antonio and Austin aren't as liberal as New York's smaller cities, yet they are known for being less conservative than Texas as a whole.
There are genuine differences to be noted, but no one thinks Houston is "backwards" I wouldn't think. Houston is a progressive island immediately surrounded by some pretty darn conservative politics that controls a bit of the nation. Tom DeLay essentially controlled Congress for a decade, afterall. So the image of Houston comes from its suburbs, not the city, on its politics.
Its much the same in Atlanta, where Newt Gingrich found his power base. He controlled Congress for a decade before DeLay.