Barney Frank Opposes Gay GOP Candidate In Race To Replace Him
BOSTON, MA -- Retiring Democratic U.S. Representative Barney Frank will not support the election of another openly gay man running for his seat because the congressional hopeful Richard Tisei, is a Republican. In a telephone conference call with journalists and media representatives Thursday, Frank told reporters; "The fact that Richard Tisei is openly gay is a good thing. The problem is that it is of no use to us."
Frank said if Tisei were elected, his first vote would be to keep fellow Republican John Boehner as House Speaker. Boehner has opposed efforts to repeal the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act that denies tax, health and other benefits to married gay couples.
The fact that Tisei supports efforts to repeal the law is beside the point, Frank said.
"If he is helping them keep the majority that is irrelevant because the bill will not come up."
Frank, who is backing fellow Democrat and incumbent Representative John Tierney in the state’s closely watched 6th Congressional District race
Tisei told the Boston Globe earlier this week that the fact that he’s Republican is a good reason to back him. Tisei pointed out that most political analysts think that the GOP will retain control of the U. S. House. Tisei said he'd be in a better position to advocate for the state with House leaders since Tierney if elected would be in the minority party. Tisei also said his election would be another step forward for the country.
"As a gay person we will never have true equality until we have people on both sides of the aisle who are willing to stand up for the concept that everybody should be treated fairly under the law."
The Victory Fund issued a statement Friday praising Frank for his service in Congress while taking issue with his comments about Tisei. “As a nonpartisan organization working to bring LGBT voices to the table on both sides of the aisle, we disagree with Congressman Frank’s assessment of Richard Tisei, an openly gay, socially progressive Republican,” said Victory Fund CEO Chuck Wolfe.
“Just as Congressman Frank was able to help persuade Democrats to turn away from an anti-LGBT record over the more than 25 years he served as an openly gay member of the House, we believe Richard Tisei’s personal influence in the Republican caucus has the potential to change the hearts and minds of colleagues,” Wolfe added. “That is how real change begins.”