Rep. Barney Frank Opposes Gay GOP Congressional Hopeful
BOSTON - Democratic U.S. Rep. Barney Frank is arguing that the election of Republican congressional hopeful Richard Tisei would set back efforts to expand gay rights - even though both Frank and Tisei are openly gay.
Frank, who is backing fellow Democrat and incumbent Rep. John Tierney in the state’s closely watched 6th Congressional District race, said electing Tisei would ensure Republicans retain control of the U.S. House.
That would effectively block any progress on gay rights legislation, Frank said Thursday in a conference call with reporters. Tisei is hoping to oust Tierney.
’’The fact that Richard Tisei is openly gay is a good thing.’’ Frank said. ’’The problem is that it is of no use to us.’’
Frank said if Tisei were elected, his first vote would be to keep Republican Rep. 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 said.
Tisei said the fact that he’s Republican is a good reason to back him, noting that most political observers assume the GOP will retain control of the House. Tisei said he’d be in a better position to advocate for the state with House leaders since Tierney would be in the minority party.
Tisei also said his election would be another step forward for the country.