Typical Barney Frank
April 30th, 2012
I don’t know why our community is so enamored of Barney Frank; he certainly doesn’t reciprocate. Frank’s two great loves are himself and the Democratic Party, and the gay community comes in a far distant third, if that.
I first became aware of Frank’s priorities in 1990 when he endorsed Democrat John Silber over Republican William Weld for governor of Massachusetts.
Silber, president of Boston University, was a vocal anti-gay activist and an enemy of equality. And the death of his eldest son from AIDS in 1994 did nothing to diminish his ire. In 2002 Silber (then Chancellor of the University) demanded that the gay-straight alliance at a high-school affiliated with BU be dissolved, accusing the group of “homosexual militancy” to promote gay sex and of, naturally, “homosexual recruitment”.
Weld, on the other hand, had an established record of being supportive on gay issues. He attributed it to being a picked-on fat kid and to having his roommate come out to him shortly out of college.
From the perspective of who would be best for the community there was no question. There was no hesitant possible maybe really they weren’t all that far apart.
Weld won (narrowly) thanks to Democrats who found Weld to be far more consistent with their social policies. They didn’t change their mind, and Weld won a second term in the heavily Democratic commonwealth by 71% – 28%.
Nor did Weld disappoint the gay community. He was quick to appoint gay people to positions of leadership, established the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and signed executive orders providing equal treatment for such things as hospital visitations and bereavement leave for gay state workers. At some point early in his administration, became convinced of the fairness of marriage equality and when the Chief Justice of the commonwealth’s supreme court (a Weld appointee) wrote the opinion legalizing same-sex marriage for the first time in our nation, Weld’s response was to announce that he’d like to officiate at the wedding of his former chief of staff. The former governor also lobbied the legislature not to seek an amendment overturning the decision or replacing it with civil unions.
In short, Weld was the advocate that the community desperately needed. But Frank endorsed the homophobe.
I say this all to note that Barney Frank is consistent. He can’t be faulted for that. He still puts party affiliation far above what is best for our community.
For example, currently Richard Tisei is running for Congress in one of Massachusett’s six districts. The openly gay Republican is not a token candidate, having served as Senate Minority Leader and as the party’s Lieutenant Governor nominee.
But regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with Tisei’s politics or thinks that he would serve the interests of the district, it goes without saying that Tisei’s presence in the Republican caucus would serve in our community’s best interest. It has long been seen that having a gay person present in any legislative body or subgroup significantly shifts opinion and votes. One can oppose Tisei as a candidate without questioning whether his inclusion in the caucus would be a positive step.
Unless you’re as partisan as Barney Frank. His response to the Daily Beast:
Tisei’s candidacy, said Frank, is “of limited relevance to the LGBT effort to win equality.” He added that were the Republican to win, “it would be a setback for LGBT issues,” since “the effect would be to help perpetuate a rigid and militant anti-LGBT majority in the House.”
What a pompous partisan petty fool. He’s fine to endorse Tierney (who is not an enemy of our community) or to explain how Tierney would better serve us as representative. But to blather as though Tisei would be bad for us illustrates the contempt that Barney Frank has for you and I and how little he thinks of our intellect.
Barney Frank is retiring. And, in fairness, I’m appreciative of the times when Frank could find no advantage to selling out our community and took whatever steps were convenient for him to take on our behalf. But I will not miss him as self-appointed spokesman for my community nor will I long for the days when he encouraged our community to vote against our best interests.