Thursday, January 26, 2012

Barney Frank to marry longtime partner

Retiring congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will marry his longtime partner, Jim Ready. Frank and Ready plan to wed in Massachusetts. Frank's home state is one of six states, in addition to the District of Columbia, that permits gay marriage. Frank announced in November that he would be retiring from Congress after 16 terms to pursue other opportunities. In 1987, Frank disclosed that he was gay, becoming the first openly gay member of Congress. Ready and Frank have known each other since they met in 2005 at a fundraiser in Maine, and began a relationship in January of 2007 after Ready's partner died. Ready works as a photographer and has a small buisness doing custom awnings, carpentry, painting, and welding according to Frank's office.
Ready, like many political spouses, has occasionally found himself in the headlines. He was arrested in 2007 for growing marijuana outside his Maine home; Frank was present at the time he was arrested. Ready later pleaded guilty to a fine for civil possession, and related charges were dropped. "I told him that our relationship could not develop if he could not promise me that he would not repeat this. He apologized, with great sincerity I believe, and he made that promise and has lived up to it," Frank said in a statement in 2010. Frank's vows come at a crucial time for the gay-rights movement. In Maryland, New Jersey and Washington, bills that would legalize same-sex marriage are poised to pass this legislative session. In Maine, voters will be able to vote to allow same-sex marriages in November, while North Carolina and Minnesota voters will consider constitutional amendments that would ban gay marriage. During a 2004 debate in Congress over a federal constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, Frank railed against the proposal. - Justin Sink

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