Shock: Even Conservative Texans Can Separate Personal From Political

Texas-based reporter James McKinley Jr. is evidently unable to process the idea that a vote against elevating gay marriage to the same status as heterosexual marriage isn't actually the same thing as bigoted opposition to gays themselves.

In his condescending Monday story "In Voting Booth, Gay Candidates Get Support That Gay Causes May Not," McKinley called that common-sense distinction a "contradiction" and seemed surprised that voters in Texas, "one of the most conservative states in the nation," would actually voting for gay politicians.

When an openly gay woman won the mayor's race here this month, it was the latest in a string of victories by gay candidates across the country, a trend that seems to contradict the bans on same-sex marriage that have been passed in most states in recent years.

Take Texas, by many measures one of the most conservative states in the nation. In 2005, it enacted a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage; the voters passed the referendum by a ratio of three to one.

Yet in the last decade, an openly gay woman has twice won election as the sheriff in Dallas County, and another openly gay woman was elected district attorney in Travis County, which includes the city of Austin. Gay candidates have also won city council seats in Austin, Fort Worth and Houston.