News :: Politics

Mass. U.S. Rep. Barney Frank Weds Jim Ready

by Steve Weinstein
Contributor
Sunday Jul 8, 2012
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A champion of gay rights, including the right to marry, has himself tied the knot.

Showing that it’s never too late to walk to the altar, Barney Frank, 72, made his relationship with long-time boyfriend Jim Ready legal Saturday, July 7. The ceremony, as reported by various news organizations, took place in Newton, Mass. Deval Patrick, the Democratic governor of Massachusetts, presided.

Frank met Ready, who, at 42, is 30 years his junior, met at a political fund-raiser in 2005. "I told him I had a crush on him for 20 years," Ready told the New York Times.

The Times described the wedding as "low key." The wedding took place in a Marriott hotel, with, the Times reported, "the scenic background of two major highways." The two bridegrooms reportedly wore tuxedos made by designer Joseph Abboud.

Attendees included a few political heavy hitters, such as former House Speaker (and now Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi, who represents a district in San Francisco; Mass. Sen. John Kerry; Rep. Dennis Kuchinich of Ohio; and Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

Not so surprisingly, all are Democrats. Frank, who became one of the most powerful members of Congress as the senior member of the Financial Services Committee, is known for his fierce partisanship. Also, his wicked wit, which he has directed many a GOP enemy, as well as a few wandering Democrats.

Born and raised in Bayonne, a working-class suburb of New York just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, he attended Harvard, both undergraduate and law school. His sister is a powerful long-time Democratic operative, Ann Lewis.

Frank has represented his district in Congress since 1980. He has remained popular even after he came out as gay in 1987. For his first term, Frank represented suburban Boston. But after redistricting, he has since represented a Southern Massachusetts district that includes the blue-collar cities of Fall River and New Bedford.

Frank’s enduring popularity is all the more remarkable, considering not only that he is gay, but also Jewish. The district includes many of Portuguese ancestry, and is, like much of Southern Massachusetts, overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.

Frank has announced that he is not running for re-election. He cited increased partisanship.

Ready was working as a carpenter and welder in Ogunquit, a Maine seacoast town popular with gay tourists. His then-partner Robert Palmer knew Frank and took him to the fund-raiser where the two men met. Palmer was then dying, and Frank’s consolation calls turned into dates.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

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