It was by choice that Rep. Barney Frank came out of the closet 25 years ago – not the first gay congressman, but the first to announce voluntarily that he was gay.
On Saturday, Frank, 72, took another deliberate first step: By exchanging vows in Massachusetts with his longtime boyfriend Jim Ready, 42, less than six months before his planned retirement, Frank will spend the rest of his time in office as the nation’s first congressman in a same-sex marriage.
“I think it’s important,” he told New York magazine in April, “that my colleagues interact with a married gay man.”
About 300 friends and relatives gathered at the Boston Marriott hotel in Newton, Mass., to see the veteran Democratic lawmaker – who has represented that district since 1981 – wed Ready, the owner of a carpentry, welding, custom awnings shop and an avid outdoorsman. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was the officiant for the private and rather personalized ceremony, according to the congressman’s office:
Do you promise to love each other and be each other’s best friend,
In sickness and in health,
In Congress or in retirement,
Whether the surf is up or the surf’s flat,
For richer or for poorer,
Under the Democrats or the Republicans,
Whether the slopes are powdery or icy,
Whether the book reviews are good or bad,
For better or for worse,
On MSNBC or on Fox,
For as long as you both shall live.
Guests included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; and seven members of the House.