A group of conservative ministers in Houston, Texas say they'll lead a campaign against Annise Parkers' mayoral runoff because she is a lesbian, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Parker and former city attorney Gene Locke were the two top vote-getters out of a field of seven on November 3 and will face each other in a December 12 runoff. Portland is currently the largest U.S. city to be led by an openly gay mayor, Sam Adams. Parker is running to lead the nation's fourth largest city.

The group says they're alarmed by the possibility of a “gay takeover” of City Hall – two openly gay candidates are also vying for seats on the Houston City Council – which could lead to the reversal of a 2001 amendment that prohibits the city from providing benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees.

“The bottom line is that we didn't pick the battle, she did, when she made her agenda and sexual preference a central part of her campaign,” Dave Welch, executive director of the conservative group Houston Area Pastor Council, told the paper.

“National gay and lesbian activists see this as a historic opportunity. The reality is that's because they're promoting an agenda which we believe to be contrary to the concerns of the community and destructive to the family,” he added.

Writing at gay weekly the Dallas Voice, columnist David Taffet disagreed: “While Parker is clear about who she is (she has a partner of 20 years [Kathy Hubbard] and two children), she does not make an issue of her sexual orientation.”

“What bothers these ministers is that she doesn't lie,” Taffet added. “She doesn't hide. She's open and honest about who she is. Interesting that these qualities bother ministers.”

The fifty-three-year-old made history in 1997 when she became Houston's first openly gay city council member. She served three terms on the council, then moved on to city controller in 2003.

Previous to holding elected office, Parker worked in the oil and gas industry and co-owned a bookstore.