The daughter of Houston Mayor Annise Parker was briefly denied the chance to take a driving test this week because her birth certificate and other documentation indicated she has two mothers, the mayor said.
Parker, who married her longtime partner, Kathy Hubbard, in California this year and remains a rarity as an openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, complained on her Twitter account on Friday.
“Daughter needs drivers test,” the mayor wrote. “Has all docs, some in MomA name, some MomK, but w/ birth cert showing both. DPS says can only be from 1 mom!”
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the issuance of driver’s licenses in the state, said the initial decision to reject Parker’s daughter’s application had nothing to do with her parents’ marital status.
Department spokesman Tom Vinger said Parker’s daughter failed to prove she was a Texas resident, but that the issue was later resolved.
“All individuals applying for their first Texas driver’s license must provide a variety of documents to prove their identity, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship or lawful presence status, and Texas residency,” the agency said in a statement. "In this case, the adult applicant did not initially present sufficient documentation to prove residency. Once she provided the required documentation, she was able to complete the transaction.”
Parker did not respond to several efforts to reach her for comment.
On Twitter, Parker said the issue was resolved after three trips to a Department of Public Safety office.
“Thank you to the DPS clerk & supervisor in the Rosenberg office who took the time to read my daughters documentation & realize it was OK,” Parker wrote, after referring to the incident as an “unnecessary paper chase.”
Parker is serving her third term as Houston’s mayor; she won reelection last year in a landslide over a Republican challenger.
The openly gay 57-year-old Democrat is something of an anomaly in heavily conservative Texas. While Texas’ larger cities tend to lean blue, the state is still dominated by Republicans, including Gov. Rick Perry, a conservative luminary and former presidential candidate.
Parker hasn’t been known to make a political issue of her sexual orientation, but gay rights advocates said Saturday that the publicity surrounding her daughter’s struggle to obtain a driver’s license could illuminate similar issues faced by children of gay and lesbian parents around the country.
“Instances like this, especially when they happen to people as prominent and important to our country as Mayor Parker and her family, help Americans understand the indignity and inequality that’s being faced by millions of Americans, and it’s completely unnecessary,” said Gabriel Blau, executive director of the Family Equality Council.
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