Rep. Barney Frank plans to marry his longtime partner in Massachusetts, according his office, which could make the lawmaker the first person in a same-sex marriage to serve in Congress. The news was first reported by New England Cable News.
Harry Gural, a Frank spokesperson, confirmed for the Washington Blade that the Massachusetts Democrat was planning to marry his partner, Jim Ready, in the Bay State.
Gural declined to further on any more details about the wedding. According to New England Cable News, a date hasn’t been set for the ceremony.
Chuck Wolfe, CEO of Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, offered the couple his congratulations in a statement.
“We are thrilled for Barney and Jim, and offer them both our congratulations and best wishes,” Wolfe said. ”As one of the world’s most visible out elected officials, Barney Frank has long used his position and influence to draw attention to the freedoms LGBT Americans deserve but still do not enjoy. It’s fitting that as his time in Congress comes to a close, he will finally take advantage of the freedom to marry in his home state of Massachusetts.”
Frank, 71, was elected to Congress in 1981 and came out as gay in 1987. Ready, 42, is a surfing enthusiast has a small business doing custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding and other general handyman services. He’s also a photographer.
According to the Huffington Post, the two met in October 2005 at a fundraiser in Maine. After Ready’s partner died in January 2007, the two began a relationship.
In November, Frank announced he won’t seek a 17th term in the U.S. House. If Frank marries his partner before his final term is up, he’d become the first member of Congress to serve while in a same-sex marriage. The late Rep. Gerry Studds of Massachusetts was married in 2004, but that ceremony took place after the lawmaker’s tenure in Congress was over.
Denis Dison, a Victory Fund spokesperson, said the wedding between Frank and Ready will bring visibility to the issue of marriage equality.
“People love weddings because they’re hopeful, happy celebrations of love and commitment,” Dison said. “When they see that same love and commitment in the eyes of same-sex couples, I think it helps everyone understand the true meaning of our unions.”