Barney Frank married his longtime partner in a ceremony Saturday in suburban Boston, making him the first sitting member of Congress to enter into a same-sex marriage.
The ceremony was officiated by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and had some politics sprinkled in. The 72-year-old Frank, a Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, vowed to love his partner James Ready “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,” CNN reported. Frank has long been a champion of gay rights and has been openly gay since the late 1987, the first sitting member of Congress to come out.
The ceremony, held at the Boston Marriott Newton, drew many prominent politicians, including top-ranking Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Sen. John Kerry, Reuters reported. Left off the invite list was Pres. Obama–Frank said he didn’t want the Secret Service to have to essentially shut down the town so Obama and wife Michelle could attend.
Ready and Frank met at a political fundraiser in 2005, though Ready was involved with another longtime partner at the time. But Ready’s boyfriend was seriously ill, and when he passed away in 2007 Frank struck up a friendship with Ready, the New York Times reported. The relationship escalated from there, and in 2009 Frank’s office announced that they would marry.
Frank’s wedding is the latest in a series of high-profile swings toward greater acceptance of gay marriage nationwide. In May a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that it is unconstitutional to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, and Pres. Obama said his administration will no longer defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act from legal challenges. Obama himself openly endorsed gay marriage in May, helping swing opinion polls more in favor of marriage equality and setting himself apart from Republican opponent Mitt Romney, who opposes gay marriage.
Barney Frank now joins the more than 18,000 same-sex couples who have been married in Massachusetts since the state became the first in the nation that allowed same-sex marriage.