National Stonewall Democrats Honors Frank in D.C.
National Stonewall Democrats honored Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin described Frank as a trailblazer who has inspired LGBT people around the world before she formally introduced him at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters headquarters near Capitol Hill. He jokingly described fellow U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) as the best dressed openly gay member of Congress before he reflected upon the movement towards equality for LGBT Americans that has only accelerated over the last decade.
"We are clearly on the verge of winning," said Frank, noting that eight states and the District of Columbia have passed marriage equality. He also cited a growing list of co-sponsors of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. "I feel very privileged to have been able to be part of this fight."
New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias and U.S. Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Jerrold Nadler [D-N.Y.] were among those who attended the fundraiser. Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee, and Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese praised Frank in pre-taped messages.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley cited the Massachusetts congressman as his inspiration to remain involved in Granite State politics as a gay man more than 30 years ago.
"I would not be here if it were not for Barney Frank and not for Stonewall Democrats," he said. "I would not have continued to be involved in politics if it were not for his leadership and being a role model for so many of us over the generations now."
Indiana Congressman André Carson applauded the Massachusetts congressman for spearheading the passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that expanded regulatory oversight on Wall Street and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He also cited Frank’s commitment to public service.
"He is a proud Democrat who is unapologetic for who he is," added Carson.
Tobias noted the world was vastly different for LGBT people in 1966 when he first met Frank while he was a student at Harvard University. "And on July 7, I’m going to the wedding of Barney Frank and (his partner) Jim Ready," he said as he became emotional. "I’m going to skip the 46 years in between, but the story of those 46 years is the story of the LGBT movement in this country-or at least a big, big part of it-led in an enormous degree by Barney Frank with the help of everybody in this room."
Frank, 72, has represented Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District since 1981. He announced last November that he would not seek re-election.