By MICHAEL GRACZYK
HOUSTON -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker says her swearing-in as the first openly gay head of the nation's fourth-largest city marks a milestone for the gay community but that it's just "one step toward a tomorrow of greater justice."
Parker was sworn in over the weekend in a private ceremony and repeated her oath during a public ceremony Monday. Her partner, Kathy Hubbard, held the Bible during the swearing-in.
The 53-year-old Parker told the more than 1,000 people at Monday's ceremony that she can feel the "excitement" and "joy" of the city's gay community, as well as their "longing for acceptance."
Parker received almost 54 percent of the vote in a December runoff against former city attorney Gene Locke. She succeeds Democrat Bill White, who reached his term limit.