Barney Frank To Retire From U.S. Congress

11.28.2011

By Adam Rathe

Gay Massachusetts Congressman to step down after more than 30 years

Barney Frank will not seek reelection.

According to The Advocate, the openly gay congressman from Massachusetts, who has represented that commonwealth for more than 30 years, will announce his retirement today.

"Barney's legacy will be huge, but he had shared recently with friends his frustrations with getting anything done now in Washington and that his last reelection seemed to take a heavy toll," a source told the magazine.

Frank, 71, was the first openly gay member of Congress to come out voluntarily and, since his election in 1980, he has become one of the most high-profile proponents of gay rights in the U.S.—even if he’s sometimes a bit behind the times.

“Barney Frank has exemplified true leadership over his more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives," said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. "As the first openly gay Member of Congress, Barney defied stereotypes and kicked doors open for LGBT Americans. Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act would never have happened without his leadership. But it goes beyond that. His service as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee during a time of great economic upheaval made a gay man one of the most powerful people in the country and he used that power for great good. America, Massachusetts and LGBT people are better off for Barney Frank’s service.”

Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund president Chuck Wolfe added, “Barney Frank’s political career may be coming to an end, but his legacy will outlive us all. His decision to come out as gay more than two decades ago gave LGBT Americans an authentic voice and a persistent champion in Washington. He has used that voice loudly and often, speaking personally, humorously and effectively about the hopes and challenges of Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We will miss that voice very much."

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