January 16 is special for Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her longtime partner, Kathy Hubbard. The couple met in Houston on that date 23 years ago, as the mayor mentioned in her inaugural address earlier this month. So when they decided to get married, they knew exactly which day to choose.
The location was another matter.
Although Parker once vowed she would not wed until gay marriage is legal in Texas, she had a recent change of heart. So at sunset Thursday, the couple married in an outdoor ceremony at a private home in Palm Springs. California is one of 17 states where gay marriage is legal.
"She is the love of my life, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life married to her," — Parker said of her partner, Kathy Hubbard.
Surrounded by around 30 friends from Houston and family, the couple were married by the Rev. Paul Fromberg, the husband of Grant Martin, who has been Parker's close political consultant since her first successful city council race in 1997. (Fromberg and Martin now reside in San Francisco.)
The mayor's mother and Hubbard's sister attended the ceremony, along with the couple's son, Jovan Tyler. Also on hand were Judge Steve Kirkland and Mark Parthie from Houston, who served as attendants and formal witnesses, and Susan Christian, director of the mayor's office of special events, with partner Laura Spanjian, the mayor's director of sustainability.
The couple both wore white, but known for their frugal ways, they recycled outfits from previous special occasions. The mayor looked radiant in the same Lafayette 148 jacket that she wore to her most recent inauguration ceremony, this time paired with white slacks. Hubbard also looked stunning in a white Calvin Klein pantsuit that she had worn to a previous inauguration. Both carried a colorful pink and orange bouquet of peonies and roses.
Channel 13 reporter Sonia Azad, who was on the scene in Palm Springs, reported that after the ceremony ended, the classic Etta James song, "At Last," was played to applause.
"This is a very happy day for us," Parker said in a statement. "We have had to wait a very long time to formalize our commitment to each other. Kathy has been by my side for more than two decades, helping to raise a family, nurture my political career, and all of the other ups and down and life events that come with a committed relationship. She is the love of my life, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life married to her."
Although eligible for city health benefits because she is now in a legal marriage, Hubbard, an accountant and president of Hubbard Financial Services, will retain her health insurance individually.