Houston Mayor Annise Parker tied the knot with her longtime partner Kathy Hubbard on Thursday amid debate over a recent regulation she signed that will recognize marriages, for benefits purposes, conducted in states where gay marriage is legal.
The two married in Palm Springs, Calif., before a small group of friends and family on the 23rd anniversary of the start of their relationship, KTRK-TV reported.
The wedding was officiated by the Rev. Paul Fromberg, a gay Episcopal preacher from St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco.
Parker indicated last year that she would have preferred to marry in Texas, though she acknowledged that doing so likely wouldn't be possible in the foreseeable future.
So, the wedding unfolded in California -- a state where gay marriage is currently legal.
"I hope someday to have the opportunity to marry the person I've loved and shared my life with for 23 years," she said in an interview with KTRK-TV last August. "I want to do it in Texas, but that might be a long time coming."
Some critics, though, are less than enthusiastic about the nuptials, wondering if they are connected with a new regulation Parker enacted last month.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker,left, kisses her partner Kathy Hubbard after Parker was sworn in for her third term as mayor during the City of Houston Inauguration Ceremony for Mayor Parker, City Controller Ronald Green and the 16-member Houston City Council at Wortham Theater Center Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson)
Jared Woodfill, chair of Texas' Harris County GOP, is publicly issue with the order, which allows city employees in gay marriages that were performed in other states to take advantage of benefits in Houston.
The notion that Parker signed this just one month before marrying Hubbard in California isn't sitting too well with Woodfill.
"The fact she is going to another state and then will come back and live and enjoy the benefits of her unilateral, executive, unlawful order represents, that really the worst in a politician," he told KTRK-TV.
In a statement released after the ceremony, Parker said her wife would not be taking advantage of benefits associated with the new regulation.
Regardless of the debate, the mayor said she's content and that her wedding day was "lovely."
"This is a very happy day for us. We have had to wait a very long time to formalize our commitment to each other," Parker said in her statement following the nuptials, according to KHOU-TV.
She continued, "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 downs 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."
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