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Frank Friday

Barney Frank

With the release of his memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics From the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, former Congressman Barney Frank has been making his rounds of the media circuit. The book covers his expansive political career, including such milestones as his becoming the first openly gay congressman, upon coming out in 1987, and his becoming the first sitting member of Congress to enter into a same-sex marriage in 2012. While his retirement in 2013 officially ended four decades of political work, Frank has not entirely withdrawn from the landscape — recently, he’s often reiterated his support for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the 2016 presidential election.

This has been a big week for Frank. He’s been chatting up a storm, sounding off on everything from: his political past, to Ben Carson, the Republican Party, and Aaron Schock. Here are some of the standouts:

The initial motivation for his book:

"[I] started off wanting to argue that we as a society now are undervaluing government, undervaluing the importance of our doing something jointly." [MSNBC]

On being gay in American politics:

“When I first thought about politics in 1954, being gay was so universally despised, it was something I was going to have to try to repress. As I went forward, I discovered that repression actually worked and I got into a couple jobs, chief assistant to the mayor and then the legislature. I did make this conscious choice: I won’t be honest. I want very much to be in politics. I’ll have to not act on being gay, I would have to keep it quiet. But I will always be an advocate. I may be a coward, but I will always be a supporter. And because nobody else wanted to do it, I wound up being a primary supporter of the gay rights bill, not something I wanted, but I could not walk away from that.” [Salon]

On the Aaron Schock debate within the gay community:

“Here’s the deal, I don’t know if he’s gay or not, but I admit I did say if he’s not gay he spends an awful lot of time in the gym. I don’t know a lot of straight guys who go to the gym and parade around with their shirts off. Generally gay men do that to attract other men.” [Daily Beast]

“When you are in public office and you vote opposite to the way you live your life, no I don’t think you have privacy. Anyone who is gay and votes in an anti-gay fashion has, it seems to me, lost their right to privacy, because it’s been converted to a right to hypocrisy.” [ABC]

On Ben Carson’s controversial statement that being LGBT is a choice:

"For those like Ben Carson, who just announced that it was a choice, I do want to say at 14 I did not choose to be a member of what I thought was the most hated group in America. That was not a typical teenage reaction at the time.” [Huffington Post]

On Obama’s presidency:

“As far as Obama is concerned, I think his problem is that he’s well-intentioned but he underestimated how vehemently right-wing the Republicans have become. He’s finally overcome that, which you can see in his recent budget; he’s doing the right thing, but it took him longer than it should’ve. In fairness to him, we’ve never in American history had a party so in control of such an ideologically extreme faction.” [Salon]

On the Republican party:

"I will say this: if the Republicans win the presidency, that radicalism will take over the Supreme Court. If the Republicans win the presidency, you will have an entrenched majority of Scalia, Thomas and Alito." [Salon]

On the longue duree of LGBT acceptance:

"So you’ve had three trend lines since the 1970s: the country is getting better at an even faster pace than I thought, the Democrats are getting better at an even faster pace than the country, and the Republicans are getting worse." [Salon]

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