Barny Frank Scales Back Criticism of Hagel
January 7th, 2013
In remarks to the Boston Globe, retired Rep. Barny Frank (D-MA) has scaled back his criticism of former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-NE) pending nomination as Defense Secretary. But before getting to his latest comments, I think it’s important to review his previous statements in order to provide full context. On December 19, after Hagel’s anti-gay comments from 1998 came to light but before he issued his apology, Frank ignored those earlier anti-gay statements and instead focused on charges that Hagel was either an anti-Semite or, at best, not a friend to Israel. Frank opinion then was:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is Jewish, said he did not object to what has become one big point of contention about Hagel: an allusion to the “Jewish lobby,” in reference to advocates for Israel in Congress and elsewhere.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having Portuguese lobbies, Jewish lobbies, Greek lobbies,” Frank said. “I think he’d be very good. … You need someone intelligent to help cut that budget.”
After Hagel apologized, Frank changed his mind on New Year’s Eve:
Then-Senator Hagel’s aggressively bigoted opposition to President Clinton’s naming the first openly gay Ambassador in U.S. history was not, as Sen. Hagel now claims, an aberration,” Frank said. “He voted consistently against fairness for LGBT people and there does not seem to be any evidence prior to his effort to become Secretary of Defense of any apology or retraction of his attack on James Hormel.”
Frank added, “And to those of us who admire and respect Mr. Hormel, Sen. Hagel’s description of him as aggressive can only mean that the Senator strongly objected to Hormel’s reasoned, civil advocacy for LGBT people. I cannot think of any other minority group in the U.S. today where such a negative statement and action made in 1998 would not be an obstacle to a major Presidential appointment.”
Today, Frank began walking that back:
“I was hoping the president wouldn’t nominate him,” Frank told the Globe today.
“As much as I regret what Hagel said, and resent what he said, the question now is going to be Afghanistan and scaling back the military,” Frank said. “In terms of the policy stuff, if he would be rejected [by the Senate], it would be a setback for those things.”
…“With the attack coming out of the right, I hope he gets confirmed,” Frank said today.
I don’t think Frank is being inconsistent. He’s framing his support for Hagel based on the larger question of what a Defense Secretary will be called upon to do in the coming months. But when it comes to LGBT policy, it’s worth noting that all policy originates in the White House, and the buck will always stop there. And this particular president – who dismantled DADT, who is acting on the conviction that DOMA is unconstitutional, who has come out in support for marriage equality — has earned a measure of latitude that no other president has come close to deserving in all of American history, at least insofar as LGBT policies are concerned. I will have more thoughts on this topic later.
Update: I want to add that this in no way means that I find Hagel’s apology acceptable as a final word. It opens a door, but that doorway is yet to be walked through.
Frank opposes Hagel
December 31st, 2012
Well I have to admit I’m shocked. Barney Frank and I agree on something.
Retiring gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced on Monday that he strongly opposes the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary based on the former senator’s 1998 anti-gay comments and record on LGBT issues.
And even more surprising is that it goes against my impression of him as the ultimate partisan hack (or, as the blade put it):
Frank has a reputation for being a loyalist to the Democratic Party and President Obama, so the statement against Obama’s potential pick for defense secretary is particularly noteworthy.
Well maybe I’ll have to keep a bit more of an open mind about Barney.
Barney Frank thinks Victory Fund is in a “cultural lag”
September 14th, 2012
Sorry for being the Barney Frank show, but he’s in the news today. (Tewksbery Patch)
But the Victory Fund — an organization dedicated to supporting LGBT candidates for office — has put its support behind Tisei. Frank said blanket support for gay candidates was a useful strategy 20 years ago, but times have changed.
“I was still in the closet when it started. Visibility was the key thing. I think that is no longer sensible,” Frank said. “Beyond that, I think you take into account the impact. In that sense I think the Victory Fund is in a cultural lag. We used to just be grateful when people were nice to us. We’ve gone beyond that now.”
The premise of the Victory Fund is that gay elected officials create greater impact than gay-friendly elected officials:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender office holders are our clearest and most convincing champions for true equality. As leaders in government, they become the face and voice of a community. They challenge the lies of extremists and speak authentically about themselves, their families and their community.
More from Barney Frank
September 14th, 2012
This year does not seem to be experiencing “a wave” (the change in political direction that shifts the make-up of the House). So, unless there is some anomaly in voting patterns, it is fairly likely that the Republicans will continue to hold the House of Representatives this fall, and with a significant margin. Barney Frank is doing what he can to make sure that one of them isn’t gay.
“The fact that Richard Tisei is openly gay is a good thing.” Frank said. “The problem is that it is of no use to us.”
Frank said if Tisei were elected, his first vote would be to keep Republican Rep. John Boehner as House Speaker. Boehner has opposed efforts to repeal the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act that denies tax, health and other benefits to married gay couples.
The fact that Tisei supports efforts to repeal the law is beside the point, Frank said.
“If he is helping them keep the majority that is irrelevant because the bill will not come up,” Frank said.
I think it is unlikely the bill will come up because DOMA isn’t going to withstand its Supreme Court challenge. Nor will electing Tierney encourage Boehner to present the bill.
But, in any case, Tisei certainly doesn’t share Frank’s no-gay-Republicans philosophy.
Tisei said the fact that he’s Republican is a good reason to back him, noting that most political observers assume the GOP will retain control of the House. Tisei said he’d be in a better position to advocate for the state with House leaders since Tierney would be in the minority party.
Tisei also said his election would be another step forward for the country.
“As a gay person we will never have true equality until we have people on both sides of the aisle who are willing to stand up for the concept that everybody should be treated fairly under the law.” Tisei said.
Personally, I too think our community desperately needs an out unapologetically gay congressperson in all parties. And I think that Tisei would be rather effective. He has shown himself to be skilled Senate Minority Leader and appears to have been respected. I suspect that, unlike many Republican house members, he is far too politically savvy and connected to be shuffled off into a corner. And I think that his assertion that his election would “send a strong message” has merit.
But I guess we’ll never know, if Barney Frank has his way.
Barney Frank, the ultimate partisan hack.
September 11th, 2012
While I cannot think of a single pro-gay bill that he has written or introduced, and while I cannot recall any real expenditure of effort on any pro-gay legislation, and while I know that he has campaigned for watering down some legislation, I also am aware that he has added his name to the list of co-sponsors on a number of supportive bills. And maybe he has really worked for some of them. Maybe he was the unseen, unheard, driving force.
And though when such bills arise, it seems to me that Frank uses the media to advance first his own image and second that of his party, he truly has advocated in the media for pro-gay positions. And that is, without question, a good thing.
I am fully aware of Uncle Barney’s role in raising the visibility of gay people. I am delighted with his decision to marry his long-time partner, James Ready, and do so while still in office.
Would I have preferred that the visible role not be the irascible, cantankerous, and generally unpleasant person that is Barney Frank? Yes. Would I have preferred that the face of gay politics be Tammy Baldwin or Jared Polis? Absolutely! But would I have been ready to overlook that in the name of community unity and advancement? You bet.
However, I simply cannot overlook the fact that Barney Frank is the worst kind of politician, a partisan hack. I can forgive hypocrisy, personal failure, even slick polished empty suits. But I have little use for a politician who tries to broker my community for his personal advancement or that of his party.
I have not been a fan of Mr. Frank since, in the 1990 Massachusetts gubernatorial race, he
endorsed supported raging homophobe John Silber over Bill Weld*. That was a jaw-dropping, mind-numbing act of partisan absurdity. I’ve seen no reason to rejoin his fan club since. In fact, now that his career is ending, it seems that he has taken on a new role: throwing a wrench into any possible bipartisan movement that can be achieved on gay rights.
And that pisses me off.
Earlier this year I shrugged off Barney’s trashing of Massachusetts congressional candidate Richard Tisei, a gay Republican as just being “typical Barney Frank”. But now I’m seeing it as a part of a pattern. He loves the partisan divide: pro-gay Democrats and anti-gay Republicans, and he’ll do anything he can to weaken any Republican that supports our community.
Barney’s latest is his new mantra that Log Cabin Republicans are “Uncle Toms”. He tossed that one out on Michelangelo Singorelli’s radio show and gave an encore at the Democratic Party Convention.
But it seems not to have gotten the standing O that he expected. In fact, several organizations politely stated that they didn’t agree with the Congressman. Rather than nod adoringly at anything Uncle Barney says, they put the goals of our community over Barney’s party-first hate speech.
Well, Barney isn’t going to let that stand, so he’s now trotted out an “explanation” of just why it is that Log Cabin Republicans are the moral equivalent of slaves defending and empowering slavery. Sadly, he seems to be a bit factually deficient in his statement, so I’ll give him a little help:
I am not surprised that members of the Log Cabin Republicans are offended by my comparing them to Uncle Tom. They are no more offended than I am by their campaigning in the name of LGBT rights to elect the candidate and party who diametrically oppose our rights against a President who has forcefully and effectively supported our rights. [Little problem, Barney, Log Cabin hasn't been "campaigning in the name of LGBT rights to elect" Mitt Romney. Nor have they been "campaigning in the name of LGBT rights to elect" the Republican Party. In fact, as best I can tell, they've been very circumspect about their campaigning this season, limiting it to those few Republicans that they see as allies.]
That is the first reason for my admittedly very harsh criticism. [No, it's not criticism. It's a slur.] This election is clearly one in which there is an extremely stark contrast between the two parties on LGBT rights. The Democratic President and platform fully embrace all of the legal issues we are seeking to resolve in favor of equality. The Republican candidate for President and the platform on which he runs vehemently oppose us in all cases. [On this we agree.] On the face of this, for a group of largely LGBT people to work for our strong opponent against our greatest ally is a betrayal of any supposed commitment to our legal equality. [But, there you go again with your objection to something that simply seems not to exist. Are you senile, Barney? Or perhaps you are so ignorant that you are unaware that Log Cabin hasn't been "working for" Romney and too lazy to look it up? Or maybe it's just that you are lying.]
But my use of “Uncle Tom” was based not simply on this awful fact that they have chosen to be actively on the wrong side of an election that will have an enormous impact on our right to equality, both in fact and in the public perception of the popularity of that cause. [Have you stopped beating your husband, Barney? God, I hate politicians who believe that if they repeat the same heinous lie over and over then it makes them right.] If the Log Cabin Republicans – or their even more outlandish cousins, the oddly-named GOProud -were honestly to acknowledge that they let their own economic interests, or their opposition to strong environmental policies, or their belief that we need to be spending far more on the military or some other reason ahead of any commitment to LGBT equality, and on that ground have decided to prefer the anti-LGBT candidate to the supportive one, I would disagree with the values expressed, but would have no complaint about their logic.
[Ummmm... okay, once more with the COMPLETE AND TOTAL IGNORANCE attempt. GOProud does exactly that. They acknowledge that Romney is worse on gay issues but they have other priorities (though the phrasing of your examples suggests that you would most definitely complain). It's one of several reasons I have no respect for GOProud.]
The damaging aspect of the Log Cabin argument, to repeat the most important point, is that they may mislead people who do not share their view that tax cuts for the wealthy are more important than LGBT rights into thinking that they are somehow helping the latter by supporting Mitt Romney and his Rick Santorum platform.
[Sure, Barney, Log Cabin supports the Rick Santorum platform. Even you can't be so "misled" as to believe that, you obnoxious blowhard. And of course, those are the two choices: 'tax cuts for the wealthy' and 'LGBT rights'. And of course Log Cabin has the "view that tax cuts for the wealthy are more important than LGBT rights."
Yep, exactly what one expects from a partisan hack that sees things only in blue or red. And I'm supposed to take anything you say as credible again, Uncle Hatebag?
But you keep trotting out that utter bullshit about how Log Cabin is misleading people. Maybe John Silber would agree. I hear he hates gay Republicans, too.]
It is a good thing for Republicans to try to influence other Republicans to be supportive of LGBT rights. The problem is when they pretend to be successful when they haven’t been, and urge people to join them in rewarding the Republicans when they have in fact continued their anti-LGBT stance. [Speaking of urging, I urge you to pretend for a moment that you have intellectual honesty. That's the fourth time you've pushed that lie.] I have been hearing the Log Cabin Republicans proclaim for years that they were improving the view of that party towards our legal equality. In fact, over the past 20 years, things have gotten worse, not better. [Really!?! You honestly think ANYONE will fall for that? No, Uncle Absurdity, the number of supportive Republicans has increased over the past 20 years. Not to the extent of Democrats, but better than they were - much better.] Most recently, on DOMA, when the House Republicans offered an amendment to reaffirm it, they voted 98% in favor of it, while Democrats voted more than 90% against the amendment. And it is not surprising that they have not been successful. Giving strong political support to people who are maintaining their anti-LGBT stance is hardly an effective strategy for getting them to change it. [Sure, If anyone were fucking doing that, Uncle Calumny.]
The argument Mr. Cooper and the others in the Log Cabin Republicans have put forward in their defense is that they have succeeded in getting the Republicans to reduce the extent to which they denounce us, and, in Mr. Cooper’s phrase, the fact that Paul Ryan is “willing to engage” with gay Republicans. That is where Uncle Tom comes to mind. They are urging people to vote for the anti-LGBT candidate [in your bloated delusional mind] over the most supportive LGBT candidate and platform imaginable because the “antis” are calling us fewer names and are willing to talk to some of us. It is this willingness to acquiesce in a subordinate status as long as the masters are kinder in tone, although in substance, that emulates Uncle Tom. [I take it you've never actually read the book. Just like you've never read a word written by LCR.]
I note Mr. Cooper points to a couple of Republicans as reasons for supporting that party and helping advance its anti-LGBT crusade. [That's a really foul lie. To accuse LCR of "helping advance its anti-LGBT crusade" is as hateful as anything I've seen from Linda Harvey.] As to Representative Ryan, in addition to his “willingness to engage with them,” Mr. Cooper cites his vote for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. In fact, Paul Ryan has an overwhelmingly anti-LGBT voting record, including opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and a transgender-inclusive hate crimes bill [I wonder if that's similar to lobbying to make ENDA trangender-non-inclusive?], and support for a constitutional amendment not just to ban future same-sex marriages but to dissolve existing ones. It is true that on one occasion he voted for ENDA, but he did so only after voting minutes before for a Republican procedural maneuver – a motion to recommit the bill – which falsely invoked the specter that passage of ENDA would compel same-sex marriage and which, if it had passed, would have killed the bill. In other words, Paul Ryan has always voted against us, except for one occasion when he voted for us only after first trying to make the bill he theoretically supported inoperative.
[Yep, Paul Ryan is not a good guy. He is one good reason why Log Cabin should not endorse the Republican ticket... something that, so far anyway, they haven't done. And if they do, I'll criticize them on those terms.]
Mr. Cooper also cites Susan Collins. She was very good on the question of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But the argument that supporting Susan Collins advances LGBT rights ignores the fact that Senator Collins has twice defeated Democrats who were far more supportive of our issues than she was. [Did you really just make the argument that Log Cabin Republicans shouldn't support Sue Collins because she's not as supportive as would be a Democrat? You partisan walrus!] And an example of that is the current referendum in the state of Maine on marriage. We have a very good chance of winning in Maine, and winning a referendum is important both for the substantive rights of the people in Maine and for the political point that it demonstrates. Unlike the two Democratic Representatives from Maine, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, Susan Collins has been stubbornly silent. That is, in a state where marriage is on the ballot, and in a year in which she is not up for reelection, Senator Collins is withholding her support from us, unlike any Democrat who would have run against her. And remember, these are the best that the Log Cabin Republicans can cite.
[No, the best they can cite is that while the Democrats played games with DADT and basically killed the repeal, Sue Collins and Joe Liebermann resurrected the repeal and are deserving of the credit. She wasn't "very good" on DADT, she was essential. But I guess one of those "more supportive" Democrats would have been better than Collins. The fact is, Uncle Tammany, you clearly see your job as pushing party and party only. In fact, you are so partisan in your thinking that you cannot comprehend that LCR might not be doing everything that they can to get homophobic Republicans elected. After all, you did everything you could to get a homophobic Democrat elected - so putting ideals over party is just natural. Of course that's what LCR does, your befuddled brain tells you, it's what any unprincipled person like you would do.]
Some have complained that in comparing the Log Cabin Republicans to Uncle Tom, I was ignoring the fact that they are nice. [Nope, nary a soul. Not one person. No one on the face of the planet said that you were ignoring that they are "nice". That's just a lie you are using to set up what you think is the rhetorical zinger.] I accept the fact that many of them are nice – so was Uncle Tom – but in both cases, they’ve been nice to the wrong people. [And that, Barney, is a fault that no one has ever accused you of doing. Excessively nice is not your vice.]
Recent headlines in the Washington Blade make the point as clearly as I did. In the August 10th issue, a headline proclaims that the “Log Cabin seeks to purge anti-gay language from Republican [platform] document.” In the August 31st issue, another headline states that “Republicans affirm anti-gay views in platform, speeches.” In the September 7th issue, a third headline reports that “Democrats embrace marriage; hundreds of LGBT delegates take part.”
[Oddly enough, your addendum proves my point. Your objection to LCR is not that they are endorsing homophobes (and I hope they continue not to), your objection to LCR is that they are Republicans.]
Yep, I’m still over Uncle Partisan Hack.
R. Clark Cooper, Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans was decidedly more civil than me in his response to Barney Frank:
Congressman Frank, of all people, should understand the importance of perseverance when working within a party to achieve change – after all, it was not so long ago his party was indifferent at best when it came to respecting gay families. Leaders committed to LGBT equality know that every victory our community has achieved has required bipartisan advocacy and bipartisan votes, and winning support from Republicans will only be more important in the days ahead. Come January, Republicans will maintain a majority in the House and likely secure a majority in the Senate. Without Log Cabin Republicans working with fellow conservatives, LGBT Americans would be left without a credible voice within the GOP. Barney Frank’s denial of Log Cabin Republicans success, particularly on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal and the freedom to marry in New York, is sad but unsurprising. It is time for him to pass on the baton to leaders better suited to a world where equality is not a partisan issue.
* This endorsement is my recollection from the time, and that of others. However, as I cannot find a 1990 newspaper reference to an actual endorsement, I’ll restrict my commentary to “supported”. As the full Democratic leadership supported Silber over Weld, and as Frank was a very visible presence in that leadership, and as I recall being furious with his doing so, I am comfortable asserting that Frank supported Silber. And if Frank were to in any way express the notion that Weld was preferable to Silber it would have been front page news (as it likely would have been had he remained silent on the matter). But I’ll leave it to the reader whether or not to rely on my recollection.
Beyond Barney Frank
September 6th, 2012
Last night, while Barney Frank was resting up in preparation for trashing Log Cabin Republicans before the DNC’s LGBT Caucus, the Los Angeles chapters of Log Cabin Republicans and Stonewall Democrats were co-hosting a fund raiser for Minnesotans United for All Families. And this, I think, illustrates a real difference between the old school power-broking party boss mentality and today’s pragmatic goal-focused community. And I, for one, am happy to be beyond Barney Frank.
Barney Frank Calls LCR “Uncle Toms”; LGBT Groups Disavow Charge
September 6th, 2012
Several leaders of LGBT organizations are distancing themselves from comments by Rep. Barny Frank (D-MA) that the Log Cabin Republicans have taken “Uncle Tom” as their role model. Frank first made those comments yesterday during an interview with Sirious/XM OutQ’s Michelangelo Signorile:
Frankly I’ve been appalled to see the Log Cabin club, in the face of this worse and worse record on public policy by Republicans on our issues,” Frank said. “Mr. Cooper said, ‘Well at least they’re not saying bad things about us.’ That’s just extraordinary. Again, 30 years ago when we were emerging from the vice of prejudice, I understood that. But no, we shouldn’t be accepting a kind of second class citizenship, [and saying], ‘You can treat us badly as long you don’t yell at us.’”
“They’re accepted on [the GOP's] terms,” he continued. “They’re willing to be accepted with no rights — no right to marry, no right to serve in the military, no right to be protected against hate crimes, no right to be protected in employment. I’ll be honest: For 20 years now I’ve heard how the Log Cabins are going to make Republicans better, but they’ve only gotten worse. I now understand why they call themselves Log Cabin: their role model is Uncle Tom.”
Buzfeed’s Chris Geidner reports that Frank repeated that comparison to the Democratic National Convention’s LGBT Caucus toda, where he reportedly received a mixed reaction from the crowd. Geidner quotes HRC’s Chad Griffin: “That’s certainly not my perspective. The Log Cabin Republicans are good people doing good work.” He added: “We need all fair-minded Americans to rally to the side of equality, and that most definitely includes Republicans. They provide a voice within the Republican Party that’s important.”
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Rea Carey and Stonewall Democrats’ Jerame Davis also backed away from Franks comments, saying that they don’t reflect the positions of their organizations. But Davis added, “The truth is that they do play a certain role of kowtowing to the Republican Party in a way that borders on inappropriate itself.”
LCR responded via a press release:
“As far as Log Cabin Republicans are concerned, it’s a badge of honor to be attacked by a partisan hack like Barney Frank,” said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper. “We understand that Barney has earned his protected place within the Democrat Party by being their attack dog on gay rights issues, demonizing Republicans and undermining efforts at bipartisanship that would actually improve LGBT Americans lives. We expect this kind of bile from Barney, especially when it plays into the Obama campaign’s efforts to divide, distract and deceive the American people.”
Cooper continues, “Frank calls us ‘Uncle Toms’ and pretends that Log Cabin hasn’t been on the front lines of the fight for equality. The truth is, by speaking conservative to conservative about gay rights, Log Cabin Republicans are doing some of the hardest work in the movement, work that liberals like Barney are unwilling to do and couldn’t do if they tried.”
Democratic Platform To Include Support for Marriage Equality
July 30th, 2012
Outgoing Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who sits on a Democratic National Committee 15-member Platform Drafting Committee, told The Washington Blade that the committee has unanimously adopted a plank endorsing marriage equality:
“I was part of a unanimous decision to include it,” Frank said. “There was a unanimous decision in the drafting committee to include it in the platform, which I supported, but everybody was for it.”
Frank emphasized that support for marriage equality is a position that has been established for the Democratic Party, from the president, who endorsed marriage equality in May, to House Democratic lawmakers who voted to reject an amendment reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this month.
Another staffer reportedly confirmed the development and added that the draft platform also rejects the Defense of Marriage Act and supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The final draft will go before the full Platform Commitee from August 10 to 12 where it may undergo further revision.
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.
Barney Frank Is Getting Married
January 26th, 2012
…to his longtime partner Jim Ready. A spokesman confirmed it today, although no date has been set.
Barney Frank: Gingrich Is Ideal Debate Opponent for “Sanctity of Marriage”
November 28th, 2011
Barny Frank To Announce Retirement
November 28th, 2011
The following release was sent from Barny Frank’s (D-MA) office moments ago:
Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts 4th Congressional District, Ranking Member of the House of the House Financial Services Committee, will hold a press conference in Newton, MA today to formally announce and answer questions about his decision not to run for re-election in 2012.
The press conference will be held at Newton City Hall at 1:00 pm in the auditorium.
Frank, 71, has been serving in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1981.
DADT Certification Is Done!
July 22nd, 2011
The military ban on gay servicemembers serving openly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will officially pass into history on September 20, 2011. President Barack Obama signed the certification stating that the U.S. military is now fully prepared to end the policy with no harm to military readiness. The certification, which is required by the repeal law passed last December, starts a sixty day clock to final repeal.
The White House released the following statement from President Obama:
Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality. In accordance with the legislation that I signed into law last December, I have certified and notified Congress that the requirements for repeal have been met. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end, once and for all, in 60 days—on September 20, 2011.
As Commander in Chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness. Today’s action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country. Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.
I want to commend our civilian and military leadership for moving forward in the careful and deliberate manner that this change requires, especially with our nation at war. I want to thank all our men and women in uniform, including those who are gay or lesbian, for their professionalism and patriotism during this transition. Every American can be proud that our extraordinary troops and their families, like earlier generations that have adapted to other changes, will only grow stronger and remain the best fighting force in the world and a reflection of the values of justice and equality that the define us as Americans.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen signed the certification letter yesterday and presented it to the President this afternoon.
In a news conference at the Pentagon, Maj. Gen. Steven A. Hummer said that the military had completed ”the necessary policies and regulations to implement repeal,” praised the work of the Repeal Implementation Team, and said, ”This thoughtful and steady approach…has laid the groundwork for a smooth and orderly transition.”
…Hummer said the military expects all training of active duty servicemembers and reserves will be completed by Aug. 15.
Hummer said that the repeal implementation Team has conducted a thorough review of regulations and policies, made the necessary revisions, and stated that those changes will be effective upon the date of repeal. Some of the main policies addressed relate to separations of servicemembers under DADT. Such servicemembers, when discharged fully under DADT, will be able to re-apply after repeal, said Hummer.
There are still some issues related to DADT’s repeal which are yet to be addressed:
”Perhaps the largest piece of this is benefits,” said Hummer.
Although Hummer said that certain benefits in which servicemembers can select a beneficiary of their own choosing will be open to gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers who wish to name a same-sex partner, he noted that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ”the existing definition of ‘dependent’ in some laws” will prohibit extending benefits such as health care and housing allowances to the same-sex partners of servicemembers.
America is now one giant step closer to joining at least 28 of our closest allies in welcoming the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country. I am delighted to have helped lead the effort to begin repeal of this law because it is the right thing to do for our military and for our country.
Sen. Collins was the only Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee to vote to include DADT’s repeal in the Defense Authorization bill. In December, she was the only Republican in the Senate to vote to proceed to the Defense Authorization bill which included repeal language. When that vot failed, Sens. Collins and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) then introduced a standalone bill which passed the Senate on December 18, 2010 by a vote of 65-31.
Sen. Lieberman also praised DADT’s imminent demise:
“Our strongest in the world military is even stronger today with the certification that its readiness and effectiveness will not be diminished by the open service of gay and lesbian servicemembers. I thank our military leaders for their efforts over the past several months to implement this policy. Justice has been served, and we should all be grateful that patriots stand guard every day around the world protecting our precious freedoms.”
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) also reacted to the news:
Given Leon Panetta’s lifelong record of opposition to unfair discrimination, I knew when the President appointed him to be the Secretary of Defense that he would act promptly to implement last December’s legislation to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
I have a prediction: just as we have seen in those states where same-sex marriage has occurred with none of the negative consequences predicted, it will soon be clear that there was never any basis for this discriminatory policy in the first place other than prejudice, and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender servicemembers will soon demonstrate that there never was a good reason to keep them from serving our country.
This Is How You Handle A Wingnut
December 22nd, 2010
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) responds to right wing CNS “news” reporter Nicholas Ballasy’s question about gay servicemembers showering with straight servicemembers.
Barney Frank: ENDA Vote May Come In April
March 24th, 2010
That’s what Lisa Keen says:
Frank said passage of the health care reform package by the House now clears the way for that chamber to take up ENDA. He said the vote could come as early as this week but would more likely come right after the spring recess, March 29-April 9.
That sounds like an impossibly fast track for what is likely to be a contentious vote, if you ask me.
Ninety US Congress Reps Denounce Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill
January 21st, 2010
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) issued a press release announcing that more than ninety colleagues in the House of Representatives, including Barny Frank (D-MA) and Jared Polis (D-CO), have sent separate letters to President Barack Obama (PDF: 2 MB/6 pages) and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (PDF: 5 pages/1.7 MB ) calling the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill “the most extreme and hateful attempt by an African country to criminalize their LGBT community.” According to the press release:
In the letters, the Members of Congress call the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009 “the most extreme and hateful attempt by an African country to criminalize their LGBT community.” The Members asked President Obama to use his “personal leadership, and that of our country, in seeking to deter these legislative proposals,” and warned President Museveni that, “Should the bill be passed, any range of bilateral programs important to relations between our countries and, indeed, to the Ugandan people inevitably would be called under review.”
Rep. Baldwin called the proposed legislation “an appalling violation of human rights,” and calls on President Obama to “use the full force of his office to oppose this hateful and life-threatening legislation.” Rep. Polis said, “This is nothing more than the institutionalization of hatred and bigotry and it must be stopped,” while calling on Obama and Museveni “to do everything in their powers to prevent it from becoming law.”
Rep. Frank said, “Having accepted debt relief from the international community only a few years ago, Uganda has an obligation to show some respect for basic human rights. He also warned that “Vicious unleashing of persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people should and will be an obstacle to any future Congressional initiative to provide aid to that country.”
Pot Before Marriage
June 18th, 2009
As we reported earlier, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has announced that he will introduce the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into Congress sometime next week. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is lined up to beamong the eight cosponsors of that bill. He and Baldwin are already among the 120 co-sponsors of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act which is still working its way through the Senate. And they are among the 147 co-sponsors of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009, which would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Barny and Baldwin however haven’t had the time or the inclination to introduce a repeal of the “Defense of Marraige Act.” Maybe they don’t feel that the time is right politically. Maybe they’re looking for a signal from the White House or Congressional leadership. I don’t know.
But they have decided that the time is ripe to introduce, along with arch-homophobe Ron Paul (R-TX) and Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), the “Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults.”
Barney Frank Was Against The DOMA Brief Before He Was For It
June 18th, 2009
There are three openly gay representatives in the U.S. Congress. As of Tuesday, we saw statements from two of the three — Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) condemning the Justice Department’s brief defending the “Defense of Marriage Act,” and we wondered when Barney Frank (D-MA) was going to issue an official statement.
Yesterday, it appeared that Frank was going to add his voice in condemnation to the brief as well. He told the Boston Herald:
“I think the administration made a big mistake. The wording they used was inappropriate,” Frank (D-Newton) said of a brief filed by Obama’s Department of Justice that supported the Defense of Marriage Act. … “I’ve been in touch with the White House and I’m hoping the president will make clear these were not his views,” Frank said.
But by the time Frank got around to releasing an official statement, he had a change of heart:
“When I was called by a newspaper reporter for reaction to the administration’s brief defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, I made the mistake of relying on other people’s oral descriptions to me of what had been in the brief, rather than reading it first. It is a lesson to me that I should not give in to press insistence that I comment before I have had a chance fully to inform myself on the subject at hand.”
“Now that I have read the brief, I believe that the administration made a conscientious and largely successful effort to avoid inappropriate rhetoric. There are some cases where I wish they had been more explicit in disavowing their view that certain arguments were correct, and to make it clear that they were talking not about their own views of these issues, but rather what was appropriate in a constitutional case with a rational basis standard – which is the one that now prevails in the federal courts, although I think it should be upgraded.”
This, of course, is the same brief which suggests that DOMA doesn’t discriminate against gay people because gay people are free to marry anyone they want, as long as its someone of the opposite sex. And besides, the brief continues, if it did discriminate, that’s okay too. Maybe Congress just wanted to save a few bucks in Social Security benefits, and that’s a good enough reason right there — never mind that we pay the same taxes into the fund just like everyone else.
But then, Barny Frank also doesn’t want anyone to spoil the DNC fundraiser for next week. “There are a lot of people who aren’t boycotting. I think it’s a mistake to deny money to the DNC,” he told the Boston Herald.
But Frank does point to another lawsuit filed by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in Boston’s Federal District Court behalf of eight married couples and three surviving spouses from Massachusetts who have been denied federal legal protections available to spouses. That GLAD lawsuit, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management challenges only Section Three of DOMA, the section which bars the federal government from recongizing same-sex marriages or providing benefits to same-sex couples
Gill v. OPM is considered a much stronger suit than Smelt v. United States, which the recent DOJ brief addresssed. The Justice Department is required to answer GLAD’s lawsuit by June 29. We’ll be watching that one very closely.
Meanwhile, Frank, along with three other Democrats and four Republicans will introduce a revised Employment Non-Discrimination Act next week in Congress. Unlike last year’s bill, this one includes transgender people in its coverage.
Barney Frank on Rick Warren, Obama, and the “Gay Agenda”
January 8th, 2009
Jeffrey Toobin has a great profile of Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) in the latest New Yorker. First thing that pops out is that Frank intends to be much more aggressive than Obama:
Frank’s mordant view of human nature presents a contrast to the sunnier approach of President-elect Obama, a difference reflected in their dispute over Obama’s choice to have Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor, give the invocation at the Inauguration. “Obama tends to overstate his ability to get people to change their opinions and underestimates the importance of confronting ideological differences,” Frank told me. “It’s one thing to talk to somebody. I talk to more conservatives than anyone, because I’m trying to get legislation passed. But it’s another to make Rick Warren the most honored clergyman in the world.” In California, Warren supported Proposition 8, the successful anti-gay-marriage referendum. “Now, when we fight Warren in California, we are going to hear, ‘Oh, yeah, but Obama picked him for the inaugural.’ He doesn’t deserve that honor. And I don’t want to hear that the other clergyman at the inaugural, Reverend [Joseph] Lowery, supports gay rights. I didn’t vote for a tie in the election.”
Frank worries that Obama’s evenhandedness may prove to be a political liability.
I think we all can relate to that worry. Frank, on the other hand, won’t let that get in the way of what he thinks needs to be done for the economy (he’s chairman of the powerful Committee on Financial Services) and for LGBT rights:
Frank is uncharacteristically hopeful about the future, including gay rights. “We’re going to do three things in Congress,” he told me. “First, a hate-crimes bill—that shouldn’t be too hard. Next, employment discrimination. We almost got that through before, but now we can win even if we add transgender protections, which we are going to do. And finally, after the troops get home from Iraq, gays in the military. The time has come.” [Emphasis mine]
That last point is key. If we’re going to wait until after the troops get home from Iraq, then repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” probably won’t happen for a very long time. But his response to those who claim that this represents some sort of radical agenda was pretty good:
“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.”
Barney Frank on Warren Pick
December 18th, 2008
Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) just sent out this statement on Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to offer the Inaugural invocation:
I am very disappointed by President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to honor Reverend Rick Warren with a prominent role in his inauguration. Religious leaders obviously have every right to speak out in opposition to anti-discrimination measures, even in the degrading terms that Rev. Warren has used with regard to same-sex marriage. But that does not confer upon them the right to a place of honor in the inauguration ceremony of a president whose stated commitment to LGBT rights won him the strong support of the great majority of those who support that cause.
It is irrelevant that Rev. Warren invited Senator Obama to address his congregation, since he extended an equal invitation to Senator McCain. Furthermore, the President-Elect has not simply invited Rev. Warren to give a speech as part of a series in which various views are presented. The selection of a member of the clergy to occupy this uniquely elevated position has always been considered a mark of respect and approval by those who are being inaugurated.