In an article titled "Parker on gay issues: It's complicated" Chronicle writer Mike Snyder tells us that Mayor Ma Parker "is more focused on basic services than gay rights". In one sense, this is a great relief. In another, I seriously doubt that it is true.
I hate to be the one to spoil the party, but there are no such things as gay rights. To make such a claim is to imply that gays have certain rights not enjoyed by straights, and vice versa. (The same applies to women's rights, black's rights, etc.) There are only individual rights, and they apply to all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, or ethnicity.
Those rights pertain to freedom of action--they are a sanction for each individual to act according to his own judgment without interference from others, so long as he respects their mutual rights. Nobody--including government--may morally compel others to act contrary to their own choice.
Rights are not a claim to some material value, but rather, the freedom to take the actions necessary to create or earn that value. To claim otherwise is to claim that some must provide those values without their consent, that they should be forced to labor while others benefit.
Government's sole purpose is to protect our rights by identifying those actions that constitute the use of force against others, and by prosecuting those who initiate force. This is the only "basic service" that government should be providing.
Of course, this is not the service that Ma is trying to provide. She wants to make sure that Houstonians have light rail, that old houses are preserved, that high rises are not built in "inappropriate" places. She wants to provide some Houstonians with the values that they desire, and she is more than willing to force others to pay for it.
"Gay" issues really aren't that complicated when one recognizes individual rights. Indeed, many issues become non-issues if one recognizes individual rights.
However, when one rejects principles every concrete situation appears to be isolated and distinct from others. Every issue must be dealt with individually, without reference to any other issue. One becomes trapped in a maze that Leonard Peikoff called "complexity worship" in his 1988 lecture at Ford Hall Forum.
Ma could address "complicated" gay issues by adopting the proper principles--the sanctity of individual rights, including property rights. And in the process, she could provide all Houstonians with the only "basic service" we need from government--the protection of those rights. It is no more complicated than that.