Notoriously homosexual congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) “married” his longtime partner July 7 in a public ceremony officiated by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the Associated Press reported. A spokesman for Frank said that the 72-year-old congressman “wed” 42-year-old Jim Ready, described by the AP as a handyman and photographer, at a Boston-area hotel, with some 300 guests in attendance. Among the more high-profile of the guests were Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.).
Frank, who earlier this year announced his retirement from Congress at the end of the present term, is the first national legislator to “marry” a homosexual partner, reported the Washington Post. The seriousness with which Frank and Ready took the event was demonstrated by their “marriage vows,” which had Patrick asking the duo if they promised “to love each other and be each other’s best friend, in sickness and in health, in Congress or in retirement, whether the surf is up or the surf’s flat, for richer or for poorer, under the Democrats or the Republicans, whether the slopes are powdery or icy, whether the book reviews are good or bad, for better or for worse, on MSNBC or on Fox, for as long as you both shall live.”
At the beginning of the ceremony, Gov. Patrick quipped to the guests: “As you might imagine, at the request of the congressman, this service will be short and to the point.”
Major media organs such as the New York Times and the Washington Post used the high-profile event as an opportunity to demonstrate their acceptance of homosexual marriage as a domestic celebration worthy of their society pages. The Times pictured the two men hand-in-hand after the ceremony, both in crisply tailored Joseph Abboud tuxedos. “The dozen groomsmen wore Abboud suits (a gift from Frank and Ready because the company is based in Massachusetts),” reported the Post. The Times swooned that the pair’s “wedding bands were made of black diamonds set in tungsten, a metal used in welding.” Frank’s “husband,” the paper noted, is an experienced welder.
The New York Times claimed that Frank, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1981, “became, in 1987, the first sitting member of Congress to volunteer that he was gay.” (Emphasis added.) In reality, however, the “volunteering” was aided by an emerging scandal in which it was revealed that over the previous two years Congressman Frank had housed a male prostitute in his Washington, D.C., apartment, and that the prostitute had been doing business out of Frank’s residence. The Beltway scandal eventually led to an 11-month congressional investigation into Frank's extracurricular activities, and while his sole punishment was a simple reprimand from his congressional colleagues (for supposedly fixing the live-in prostitute’s parking tickets), the episode no doubt served to press Frank into announcing that he was, in fact, a practicing homosexual.
Frank’s announcement followed a similar admission by fellow Massachusetts Congressman Gerry Studds, who has the distinction of being the first openly homosexual congressman — a revelation that came as the result of his 1983 censure for admitting to a homosexual liaison with a 17-year-old male congressional page.
In an April 2012 interview with New York Magazine, Frank, who has been one of the most aggressive homosexual activists in Congress, attempted to spin his own 1987 “outing” as something that came with much thought and reflection — rather than as a result of the scandal that was then incubating. “I’ll tell you what finally touched it off,” selectively recalled Frank of his salacious history and ultimate announcement. “When Gerry Studds was outed, that meant I couldn’t come out for a while — two in the whole country, and we have districts next to each other? He got re-elected in ’84, and even in ’86 I figured it’s too soon.”
But, recalled Frank, when Rep. Stewart McKinney (R-Conn.) died of AIDS in 1987, “a major debate ensued about whether he was or wasn’t gay. It was very distasteful. Stewart was a wonderful man, one of the last really liberal Republicans, and I said, ‘Geez, this is awful. If I get hit by a truck tomorrow, I don’t want there to be this big debate: Was he gay? Was he not gay?’ So I decided that I was going to come out.”
Frank admitted that he wanted his “marriage” to Ready to occur while he was still in office — apparently for the political message it would send. “I do think, to be honest, if I was running for reelection, I might have tried to put the marriage off until after the election, because it just becomes a complication,” he told New York Magazine. “But I did want to get married while I was still in office. I think it’s important that my colleagues interact with a married gay man.”
Photo of Rep. Barney Frank: AP Images