Rep. Barney Frank yesterday married his long-time partner, James Ready, in the historic first same-sex marriage of a sitting member of the House of Representatives. Congressman Frank, who is 72 and was born in New Jersey, has served as the U.S. Congressman for Massachusetts since 1981, and announced his engagement in January, almost two months to the day he announced he would retire from Congress at the end of his term in 2013.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick officiated the short but sweet wedding, in which the couple promised to love each other “on MSNBC or on Fox,” and, “in Congress or in retirement,” as the New York Times reported:
“I told him I had a crush on him for 20 years,” said Mr. Ready, recalling that as a teenager he was inspired by Mr. Frank’s public declaration that he was gay.
And what did Mr. Frank make of that? “That I’m being rewarded for coming to this fund-raiser,” he said with a laugh.
Mr. Frank, 72, and Mr. Ready, 42, were married in Newton, Mass., part of Mr. Frank’s district, on Saturday in a low-key ceremony on the banks of the Charles River. Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts officiated. The guests included Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, as well as Senator John Kerry and Representatives Dennis J. Kucinich and Steny H. Hoyer.
Mr. Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, became, in 1987, the first sitting member of Congress to volunteer that he was gay. He is now the first to be married to a partner of the same sex. Both bridegrooms said they recognized the historical significance of the ceremony, which lasted less than five minutes. Gov. Patrick told the guests that Mr. Frank had requested that the service “be short and to the point.”
Though he didn’t plan the wedding around his retirement, Frank has said that the timing worked out well.
“There’s an unintended benefit,” he told New York magazine earlier this year. “I want to get married. 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. 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.”
Rep.Chellie Pingree, who attended the wedding, offered this photo and tweet:
At the wedding of Barney and Jim.So sweet!Next year in Maine! No one should be denied the opportunity to marry. twitter.com/chelliepingree…
— Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) July 8, 2012
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