Congressman plans to marry longtime partner.
Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) plans to wed longtime partner Jim Ready in a Massachusetts ceremony. A date for the nuptials has not been set.
Frank, 71, and Ready have been together since the spring of 2007. Ready, 42, lives in Ogunquit, Maine, and has a small business offering custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding, and other handyman services. He is also a photographer.
Massachusetts’ LGBT rights supporters offered their congratulations to the couple, lamenting that because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), banning federal recognition of same-sex marriages, Ready would not enjoy all the legal benefits of a heterosexual spouse.
“It is, of course, somewhat ironic that because of DOMA and because Barney is a federal employee, Jim won’t be eligible for any of the benefits that any other spouse would be able to get,” Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), told the Associated Press. “I think it’s always positive when public figures are role models in these critical societal institutions.”
Rep. Frank announced in November of last year his intent to retire. "I began to think about retirement last year, as we were completing passage of the financial reform bill," Frank said in a written statement released Nov. 28, 2011. "I have enjoyed -- indeed been enormously honored -- by the chance to represent others in Congress and the State Legislature, but there are other things I hope to do before my career ends. Specifically, I have for several years been thinking about writing, and while there are people who are able to combine serious writing with full-time jobs, my susceptibility to distraction when faced with a blank screen makes that impossible."
Saying he had to make a choice "between fulfilling my obligation as a ranking member of the Financial Services Committee on behalf of financial reform and my responsibility to continue to be a full representative of the people who voted for me in 2010, and on the other hand to engage in a full-fledged Congressional campaign in a district which is very different than the current one," Frank announced his retirement.
Several politicians and LGBT advocacy groups responded by lauding Frank’s commitment and work, and wishing the congressman well in his retirement.
"A generation of Bay State residents have known Barney Frank for his wisdom, wit and passion for service," said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. "Barney’s leadership, on issues ranging from civil liberties to financial system restraint, will be sorely missed. He has earned the good wishes of the people of the Commonwealth."
During an appearance on PBS’ “The Charlie Rose Show” earlier this month, Frank said he was looking forward to leaving Congress in favor of spending more time with his partner. “Look, I have a partner now, Jim Ready; I have an emotional attachment. I’m in love for the first time in my life,” Frank said on the show.