A city in Texas that was ground zero in a battle over homosexual rights and religious liberty has elected a new mayor.
Houston voters elected state Rep. Sylvester Turner as their new mayor in a run-off that pitted Turner, a Democrat, against Republican candidate Bill King.
Houston's outgoing mayor is Annise Parker (pictured above), who was term-limited and could not seek re-election.
Parker, an open lesbian, drew nationwide attention to Houston over a "non-discrimination" bill that was passed by the city council over the protests of many Houstonians.
After a lawsuit was filed over the ordinance, Parker and city government pursued area pastors who vocally opposed the ordinance and one of them, Dave Welch, tells OneNewsNow that the controversial issue helped put more pro-family candidates on the Houston City Council.
"So, I think from a pro-family viewpoint, we're much stronger in council positions than we were before," says Welch, who leads the Houston Area Pastors Council.
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States with approximately 2.1 million residents.
In a pre-election story, The Texas Tribune reported that Sylvester supported the ordinance while King opposed it, but said neither candidate talked about the issue much on the campaign trail.
The story quotes an email from Welch to supporters predicting that Houston would "have that battle all over again" if Turner wins office.
The Tribune reports that Turner narrowly won over King by just two percentage points, with 4,000 votes separating the candidates of more than 212,700 cast.
Parker had endorsed Turner and, just before Election Day, President Obama announced his support, too.
Beyond social issues, the incoming Houston mayor has one looming issue to tackle, the Tribune reported, which is $3.2 billion in "unfunded pension liabilities."
King has proposed a plan to aid the program, the newspaper reported, while Turner has no plan.
But the mayor-elect's spokesman said, before the run-off election, that King "talks about basic things," like the city's budget, while Turner is a "a big-picture guy" who inspires people.