Frank resides in a studio apartment complex in Newton, Massachusetts. His partner, Jim Ready, is a surfing enthusiast whom Frank met during a gay political fundraiser in Maine, where Ready still lives. On July 7, 2012, Barney Frank married Jim Ready; he became the first sitting member of Congress to be joined in same-sex marriage.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Frank graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He worked as a political aide before winning election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1972. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 with 52 percent of the vote. He has been re-elected ever since by wide margins. In 1987 he came out as gay, becoming the first member of Congress to do so voluntarily. From 2007 to 2011, Frank served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, where he remains the ranking Democrat.
On November 28, 2011, Frank announced that he would retire from the Congress at the conclusion of his term in 2013. On January 26, 2012 it was announced in The Hill that Frank would marry his partner James Ready.
In 1985 Frank was still closeted. That year he hired Steve Gobie, a male prostitute, for sex and they became friends more than sexual partners. Frank housed Gobie and hired him with personal funds as an aide, housekeeper and driver and paid for his attorney and court-ordered psychiatrist. In 1987 Frank kicked Gobie out after he was advised by his landlord that Gobie kept escorting despite the support and was doing so in the residence. Later that year Gobie's friends convinced him he had a gay male version of Mayflower Madam, a TV movie they had been watching. In 1989 Gobie tried to initiate a bidding war for the story between WUSA-TV (Channel 9), the Washington Times, and The Washington Post. He then gave the story to The Washington Times for nothing, in hopes of getting a book contract. Amid calls for an investigation Frank asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate his relationship "in order to insure that the public record is clear." The Committee found no evidence that Frank had known of or been involved in the alleged illegal activity and dismissed all of Gobie's more scandalous claims; they recommended a reprimand for Frank using his congressional office to fix 33 of Gobie's parking tickets and for misstatements of fact in a memorandum relating to Gobie's criminal probation record. The House voted 408–18 to reprimand Frank. The attempts to censure and expel Frank were led by Republican Larry Craig, whom Frank later criticized for hypocrisy after Craig's own arrest in 2007 for lewd conduct while soliciting gay sex in an airport bathroom. Frank won re-election that year with 66 percent of the vote, and has won by larger margins until the 2010 Mid-term elections when Frank only won by eleven points.
Barney Frank was the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 4th congressional district. A member of the Democratic Party, he is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States. Frank resides in a studio apartment complex in Newton, Mass. His partner, Jim Ready, is a surfing enthusiast whom Frank met during a gay political fundraiser in Maine. On July 7, 2012, Barney Frank married Jim; he became the first sitting member of Congress to be joined in same-sex marriage.
Frank has been outspoken on many civil rights issues, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. In 1987, he publicly came out as gay. In 1990, Frank was instrumental in crafting the 1990 Immigration Act, which restated the reasons for which a person could be denied entry into the country. The act did not include "sexual preference exclusion[s]", reforming earlier immigration law which allowed persons to be excluded for a sexual deviance "afflict[ion]". He said in a 1996 interview: "I'm used to being in the minority. I'm a left-handed gay Jew. I've never felt, automatically, a member of any majority." In 1995, then-Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey famously referred to Frank as "Barney Fag" in a press interview. Armey apologized and said it was "a slip of the tongue". Frank did not accept Armey's explanation, saying "I turned to my own expert, my mother, who reports that in 59 years of marriage, no one ever introduced her as Elsie Fag." In 1998, Frank founded the National Stonewall Democrats, the national LGBT Democratic organization.
In 2006, Frank and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were accused by Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) of having a "radical homosexual agenda"; Frank responded "I do have things I would like to see adopted on behalf of LGBT people: they include the right to marry the individual of our choice; the right to serve in the military to defend our country; and the right to a job based solely on our own qualifications. I acknowledge that this is an agenda, but I do not think that any self-respecting radical in history would have considered advocating people's rights to get married, join the army, and earn a living as a terribly inspiring revolutionary platform." Frank's stance on outing gay Republicans has been called the "Frank Rule" whereby a closeted person who uses their power, position, or notoriety to hurt LGBT people can be outed. The issue became relevant during the Mark Foley scandal of 2006, during which Frank clarified his position on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: "I think there's a right to privacy. But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy. And people who want to demonize other people shouldn't then be able to go home and close the door and do it themselves."
In February 2009, Frank was one of three openly gay members of Congress, along with Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado. In April 2009 Frank was named in the LGBT magazine Out's "Annual Power 50 List", landing at the top spot.
In 2006 the Human Rights Campaign scored him at 100% indicating a pro-gay-rights stance.
According to Stuart Weisberg's 2009 biography Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman, Frank dated women in an effort to deny his homosexuality. His last romance with a woman was a nearly two-year long affair with Irish-American Catholic Kathleen Sullivan, the daughter of New England Patriots owner Billy Sullivan, that began in 1974. When the two split up, at Frank's instigation, he admitted to her that he was gay. He was still closeted publicly.
According to Frank, he "realized it was crazy" to try to have a romance with someone he cared for but was not compatible with due to his homosexuality. "That was the last effort to avoid being gay," Weisberg quotes Frank as saying. Frank never again dated a woman.
Barney Frank and Hern Moses
Frank started coming out as gay to friends before he ran for Congress and came out publicly in 1987, "prompted in part by increased media interest in his private life" and the death of Stewart McKinney, "a closeted bisexual Republican representative from Connecticut"; Frank told The Washington Post after McKinney's death there was "An unfortunate debate about 'Was he or wasn't he? Didn't he or did he?' I said to myself, I don't want that to happen to me." Frank's announcement had little impact on his electoral prospects. Shortly after coming out, Frank met and began dating Herb Moses, an economist and LGBT activist; their relationship lasted for eleven years until an amicable break-up in July 1998. Moses, who was an executive at Fannie Mae from 1991 to 1998, was the first partner of an openly gay member of Congress to receive spousal benefits and the two were considered "Washington's most powerful and influential gay couple."
Barney Frank, a congressman from Massachusetts, publicly declared his homosexuality during the sixth year of the AIDS epidemic. He told Jeffrey Schmalz of The New York Times that while he remained in the closet, his colleagues were often sympathetic when he lobbied hem on gay issues, but they rarely took him very seriously. "The pain gay people felt was unknown," Frank explained. "We were hiding it from them. How the hell are they supposed to know when we were making damn sure they didn't?"Further Readings:
But once the dimensions of the epidemic became clear, many of Frank's colleagues "started voting pro-gay because they saw that life-and-death issues were at stake. They had to do the right thing, even thought it might hurt them politically.
"Then, guess what? It turned out not to hurt them politically very much."
Conservatives argued that gay marriage threatened heterosexual unions, but no one ever offered a credible explanation of why that might be so. As gay Congressman Barney Frank had asked when the debate first began to catch fire, if gay marriage were legalized, were married men accross America "really going to smack themselves on the head, and say, "Wow! I could I have married a man!" --The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America by Charles Kaiser
Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman by Stuart Weisberg
Hardcover: 584 pages
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press; 1 edition (September 30, 2009)
Amazon: Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman
In a survey conducted by Washingtonian magazine, Barney Frank was rated the smartest, funniest, and most eloquent member of Congress. A mainstay in the House of Representatives since 1981, he has come to be known for his talent as a legislator, his zeal for verbal combat, his imposing intellect, and a quick wit that both disarms and entertains other lawmakers. Most recently, as chair of the Financial Services Committee, he was instrumental in crafting a compromise bill to stem the tide of home mortgage foreclosures, as well as the subsequent $700 billion rescue plan.
Based on interviews with over 150 people, including more than twenty-five hours with Frank himself, this biography reconstructs for the first time his life and career, from his working-class childhood in Bayonne, New Jersey, to his years at Harvard and in Boston politics, through his rise to national prominence. Stuart Weisberg captures Frank in all his quirkiness, irreverence, and complexity. He also examines his less appealing side his gruff exterior, his legendary impatience, his aversion to wasting time. Weisberg reveals the pressure Frank has felt as the most prominent openly gay politician in the United States, one whose career was nearly derailed by a highly publicized sex scandal involving a male prostitute.
Above all, this book shows Frank to be a superb legislator a pragmatic politician who has dedicated his career to pursuing an unabashedly liberal agenda and whose depth of intellect and sense of humor have made him one of the most influential and colorful figures in Washington.
Frank Talk: The Wit and Wisdom of Barney Frank by Peter Bollen
Paperback: 154 pages
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (March 23, 2006)
Amazon: Frank Talk: The Wit and Wisdom of Barney Frank
During his years in Congress, Barney Frank (D-MA) has built a reputation as a respected leader on many fronts: as an expert debater, a master parliamentarian, and a point man for his party on legislation. The first openly gay congressman, Frank is unafraid to take on difficult issues such as gay rights or the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. He pulls no punches in his cutting remarks about the many personalities and colleagues he cites and is a favorite guest on the talk show circuit.
Edited and compiled by Peter Bollen, Frank Talk is an informal collection of quotations from this witty and brilliant congressman who is constantly quoted by news reporters, columnists, and pundits. After a quarter century as an elected official, Frank’s humor and acerbic remarks have been collected in this volume, which includes congressional testimony, selections from his humorous fund-raising letters, and off the cuff comments as reported in the media.
Speaking Frankly : What's Wrong with the Democrats and How to Fix It by Barney Frank
Hardcover: 164 pages
Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (February 4, 1992)
Amazon: Speaking Frankly : What's Wrong with the Democrats and How to Fix It
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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