Jason Bayless is a life-long activist and is currently working at The Pachamama Alliance. When he is not working he spends, working with Center for Farmworker Families and spending his time recording shows, writing blogs, collecting 3D movies, and playing VR games.
This is the best story I had read in a long time. I am from Texas and know how attitudes towards people can be really harsh at times. So, it makes me very happy to hear about this story.
The story was written by Paul Harris for the The Observer, on Sunday 31 May 2009. I am re-posting this story in full from their site. So feel free to click the link to read from their site if you don’t want to read it here, I mean, they did write it.
Gay mayor’s illicit love shakes a Texas town
- The Observer, Sunday 31 May 2009
The small Texan city of San Angelo has been turned upside down by one of the most unusual sex scandals ever to make an impact on American political life.
Joseph Lown, the popular mayor, suddenly resigned last week after revealing he had fallen madly in love with an illegal immigrant. That was the first revelation; the second was that his new partner was another man.
Not surprisingly the news has become the talk of Texas. In the socially conservative and solidly Republican state, gay marriage and illegal immigration are probably the two hottest potatoes in town. Perhaps, then, it was no wonder that Lown announced the end of his career from Mexico, where he had fled to be with his new boyfriend and from where he could mourn the end of an otherwise successful political career.
The news came as a bombshell. Lown, aged only 32, had just won a fourth term with a massive 89% of the vote. He was immensely popular after having worked long hours to fix the city’s infrastructure and attending hundreds of community meetings.
But, in a scene of drama that would be hard to top, he sent a text message to a city official hours before a ceremony to swear him back into office. Lown explained he was in Mexico City with the man he loved, and would not be coming back any time soon.
Not surprisingly, some local commentators greeted the news with a degree of hyperbole. “It was, simply put, the most stunning abdication since Edward VIII gave up the British throne for Wallis Simpson in 1936,” declared Rick Casey of the Houston Chronicle
It left San Angelo officials bemused. At a hastily called press conference they were at pains to point out that Lown had left not because his partner was a man, but because he was illegal. Lown’s decision to resign, they said, had been taken because no mayor could be seen to be aiding and abetting someone who had broken the law. “He hopes that the people of San Angelo will respect his decision,” said Ty Meighan, the city council spokesman.
Despite the image of Texas as firmly in the anti-gay bible belt, there is a strong chance of that happening. The demographic nature of Texas has changed in recent years. Houston, Dallas and Austin all boast thriving gay communities. Dallas, in fact, has an image as the “gay cowboy capital” of America.
Lown himself seemed to back the view that his decision to follow his heart had struck a chord with the citizens of San Angelo. In a press conference from Mexico, Lown said he had received hundreds of messages of support. He had already personally replied to more than 300 of them. “I am frankly very touched. Touched deeply by all the support of the people in our city,” he said.
Lown explained that he and his unnamed partner would shortly be moving to another city in Mexico. There they would embark on the long process of trying to apply for legal residency for his boyfriend, although he admitted that could take years. He said he wanted to come back to the United States but, in the finest traditions of great love stories, he said that he had to follow his heart and try to make things work with the man he loved.
“I had to give this situation the opportunity or I would regret it the rest of my life,” he said.