The election of a lesbian mayor in a religiously conservative city: The case of houston, texas

Nancy Palmer Stockwell, Ira M Sheskin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The American South in general remains a pocket of predominantly conservative Baptist and Evangelical Christian hegemony. Metropolitan areas display more diversity and pluralism as a result of foreign and domestic migration into the region, changes in religious affiliation, an increasing population choosing no religious affiliation, and the growing influence of popular culture on religious participation. These forces act within a paradigm of neosecularization in which personal conscience exerts more influence than religious authority. Houston, Texas, within the context of the South, serves as the case study that demonstrates the temporal and spatial changes to Houston’s religious and political landscape and the manner in which these changes influence voter behavior. In 2009, Houston, home to a large, active Christian community, became the first major U.S. city to elect an openly homosexual mayor. The changes in Houston’s religious landscape, changes in attitudes toward gays and lesbians, and the varying degrees of voter participation among religious groups across the city illustrate the unpredictability of religion as an influence on voter behavior in local elections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9789401793766, 9789401793759
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Christian hegemony
  • Election geography
  • Film
  • Glbt
  • Houston
  • Neosecularization
  • Voter behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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