You Don’t Know Barney Frank

January 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm Leave a comment

Jeffrey Toobin has an exhaustive profile of Rep. Barney Frank in the New Yorker. Frank is the dean of gay members of Congress and widely considered the funniest member of Congress for his quick and biting sense of humor. Thumbnail image for Barney Frank.jpg

While Frank has become the congressional go to gay and all issues LGBT, his status as one of three openly gay members of Congress has taken a back seat to the credibility and influence that he has built over the years specifically on financial and economic issues. As chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, Frank has had a key role in the federal responses to the banking and auto industry crises.

There’s nothing like a gay with real political power.

In the article Frank talks about a wide range of issues including the prospects for passing pro-LGBT legislation:

Frank is uncharacteristically hopeful about the future, including gay rights. “We’re going to do three things in Congress,” he told me. “First, a hate-crimes bill–that shouldn’t be too hard. Next, employment discrimination. We almost got that through before, but now we can win even if we add transgender protections, which we are going to do. And finally, after the troops get home from Iraq, gays in the military. The time has come.”

Frank is controversial among some in the LGBT community for his past willingness to support a version of ENDA that did not include gender identity and expression and liberal pragmatism. Whatever your opinion of Frank, you cannot deny that he knows how the game is played and his message has been clear: if we are to win LGBT equal rights then we had better get off the sidelines and get on the field prepared to fight.

Regarding ENDA Frank says “we can win even if we add transgender protections, which we are going to do.” We need to hold him and the Democrats to that.

And, we need to be prepared to do the work necessary to ensure that an inclusive bill reaches Obama’s desk.


Entry filed under: Advocacy, Barack Obama, Congress, Democrats, Hate Crimes, LGBT, Politics. Tags: , , , .

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