The city of Houston, Texas has elected its first openly gay mayor, Annise Parker. She will take office Jan. 1.
Parker defeated former city attorney Gene Locke with 53.6 percent of the vote Saturday in a race that had a turnout of only 16.5 percent.
"This election has changed the world for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. Just as it is about transforming the lives of all Houstonians for the better, and that's what my administration will be about," Parker told supporters after Locke conceded defeat.
Houston is the country's fourth largest city and biggest so far to elect an openly gay mayor. In a city with over two million people, Parker won by just 82,000 votes.
About 60,000 Houston residents identify themselves as gay or lesbian. She said she hopes her victory in Saturday's election will change how the world views the city.
"It's a historic election for my community, and I believe an election that will change some people's minds about the city of Houston," said Parker, 53. "It's a diverse, international city that welcomes everyone."
Parker started her political career as a gay activist, then she rose through the ranks of local politics to serve first on city council, then as city controller.