by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
On Saturday, July 7, longtime U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) married his partner, Jim Ready, in Newton, Massachusetts. Frank, the first openly Gay congressman, is now also the first sitting congressman to enter a same-sex marriage.
'Barney was beaming,' said Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who attended the wedding, adding that Frank shed a tear during the short ceremony.
The gathering, whose guests also included former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), was a lighthearted, private affair that sealed the deal on a true, feel-good love story.
Frank, 72, met Ready, 42, at a fundraiser in 2007 through a mutual friend.
'I told him I had had a crush on him for 20 years,' Ready told The New York Times, recalling the impact of Frank's coming-out when he was a teenager.
Friends and colleagues say the relationship has given Frank a new outlook on life. According to the Times, one House Republican said after seeing Ready in the hallway, 'I should've known you were here. Barney was nice to me today.'
Frank came out of the closet in 1987 after a 'call-boy' scandal, becoming the first congressman to do so. He was investigated by the House Ethics Committee and recommended for expulsion by then-Rep. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) - who, ironically, was later arrested for soliciting Gay sex in an airport bathroom. Frank was reprimanded but not removed, and won reelection in 1988 with 66% of the vote.
Years later, Frank said on The Bill Press Show that coming out as Gay and doing his part to 'diminish that prejudice' was one of his proudest accomplishments as a public official.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick officiated at the ceremony, asking Frank and Ready to vow to love each other '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.'
'It was no different than any other wedding I've attended when you have two people who are in love with each other,' said Rep. Green.
Frank said that a couple of Republicans have congratulated him in private, and 'there have been no negative comments & I think a few years ago, there would have been.
'The climate is changing and opponents have realized that the country is moving beyond them.'
Frank was first elected to Congress in 1980. He is not seeking re-election this year.
In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the country where same-sex couples could legally marry. According to MassEquality, an LGBT advocacy group, more than 18,000 same-sex couples have wed in the state.
'I did want to get married while I was still in office,' said Frank. 'I think it's important that my colleagues interact with a married Gay man.'
Ready works as a carpenter, painter, and welder.
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