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Barney Frank Criticizes HRC President Chad Griffin's Apology to the Trans Community for ENDA 2007

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In an interview with The GA Voice, Barney Frank sounds off on Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin's recent apology to the transgender community for HRC's endorsement of a stripped down version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act back in 2007 that did not provide gender identity protections alongside sexual orientation.

That bill, introduced by Frank, passed the House 235-184 but was never voted on in the Senate. 

Said Frank:

Chad Griffin’s one of those people whose political judgment seems to be off. The fact is that HRC and I and everybody else were for an inclusive bill in 2007. The issue was we did not have the votes for an inclusive bill. It wasn’t a failure of will. Then the question was, was something better than nothing? Was it better to pass a bill that was protective of lesbian, gay and bisexual people or pass nothing? We tried very hard.

JohnsonPeople have this mistaken view of the civil rights movement and say, ‘Well the black people never compromised, they got the whole thing.’ That is just silly nonsense. The first civil rights bill that was passed in ’57 was fairly moderate but it had some good things, and then one passed in ’60, and then one passed in ’64. People are now saying, ‘Well we don’t want ENDA to be just about employment, we want it cover housing, etc.” Well that national federal civil rights bill that Lyndon Johnson signed in 1964 that we’re all celebrating today didn’t include housing! Housing didn’t come until a separate bill was passed after Martin Luther King was murdered in 1968. The notion that you can win your entire victory at once is historically and politically flawed.

The transgender community had this mistaken view that if Nancy Pelosi waved a magic wand, transgender would be included. And we were insisting to them that, look we don’t have the votes, help us lobby. Instead of trying to put pressure on the people who were against them, they thought they could just insist that we do it. We said, ‘We’re trying, but we need your help.’

Frank goes on in the interview to discuss how the topic of trans rights has come a long way in the seven years since then, as well as reveal what he misses most about being a congressman - the friendships and the ability to influence policy. 

Check out the full interview HERE


Barney Frank: Don't Vote For Gay Republican Congressional Candidate Richard Tisei

Former Rep. Barney Frank has weighed in on one of 2014's tightest congressional races, that of his state Massachusetts' sixth district. 

1019_tierney-tisei-620x456It's a headline grabber — incumbent Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) versus Republican challenger Richard Tisei. While Rep. Tierney has been a staunch advocate of LGBT rights, Tisei may be poised to snatch votes from him. Rep. Tierney is staight, and Tisei is openly gay. If elected, Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.

If this story sounds familiar to you, you're not wrong. Two years ago, the same two candidates were squaring off in the same district. That time around, the race wrapped up tight — Tierney's 48% to Tisei's 47. 

This year, things could shake out differently. In February, Tisei was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, leading to a bump in his polling data.

Wednesday evening, former Rep. Frank assembled a group of LGBT donors on Capitol Hill to discuss the congressional race and voice support for the incumbent Tierney.

6a00d8341c730253ef017d3e260216970c-250wiWhile the donors acknowledge allure in the idea that a gay Republican who could shake up the party, many suggest that this is not realistic — that it's more important to reduce the influence of Republican leader and LGBT rights opponent Rep John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Former Rep. Frank expands on the core reasons to not elect Tisei:

"I do believe it is very important to support gay and lesbian candidates. But the notion that we will tell an incumbent who has been absolutely perfect on gay, lesbian, bisexual [and] transgender issues — absolutely perfect — that perfection will do no good because he has sex with the wrong person, [that] is the antithesis of what we should be fighting for."

Concise and whip-smart as ever, but that's Barney Frank for you.

Frank's sentiment is echoed by the incumbent Rep. Tierney. While he would like to have more pro-gay Republcans in Congress, Tierney points out that electing them in the current political climate would have little effect.

"[Pro-gay Republicans aren't] allowed to even vote on the matter [of LGBT rights]. They don't get an opportunity. So you need to change the majority to have the matter brought up," he said. "We have currently a Congress that is going nowhere, slowly, under John Boehner."

[h/t HuffPo]


Barney Frank Discusses Political Cynicism, Gay Acceptance And The Macarena With Seth Meyers: VIDEO

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Former Rep. Barney Frank spoke with late night talk show host Seth Meyers about Frank's reaction to the new documentary on his life. Frank did not share the offense he took at the film's portrayal of him. Instead he lamented the film's attitude towards politics:

"There’s an excessive degree of cynicism about politics which is unfortunately a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because people will say, 'They’re all bums, I’m not voting.' Well the bums wish you wouldn’t vote, because they’re all fine. They’re all set."

Frank also said he hopes the documentary is the anti-House of Cards, a show he considers both wrong and misleading. He additionally mentioned his pleasure at the film's depiction of gay life, especially considering society's increasing acceptance of gay people and same-sex marriage:

“By the time I retired, there was still a disparity between the popularity of being gay and the popularity of being a politician. But it had flipped and my marriage had polled better than my service as a committee chairman.”

Turns out that he also struggled with being left-handed as a child and that he also forbade line dancing and the Macarena at his wedding.

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...

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Wednesday Speed Read: South Carolina, Gay Books, Maura Healey, Carl DeMaio, Barney Frank, Chad Griffin

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

CoursonS.C. BUDGET CUTS GET SECOND LOOK:

A South Carolina senate subcommittee recommended a budget that leaves out the House-passed cuts to public colleges using gay books. The chair of the subcommittee, Senator John Courson, told Associated Press he thinks books “should be up to the presidents of the institution and the board of trustees which the General Assembly elects.” The decision by Courson, a Republican, bucks the Republican-led House plan to cut $70,000 from the budgets of two state universities because they used gay positive books in their curricula. According to an Associated Press report Sunday, the Senate Finance Committee could begin debating the budget this week.

AN ENDORSEMENT RUSH:

HealeyOpenly lesbian Massachusetts attorney general candidate Maura Healey racked up a string of endorsements recently from women’s PACS: EMILY’s List, Women’s Campaign Fund, Feminist Majority, and Barbara Lee. The Women’s Campaign Fund named Healey one of their 40 “Game Changers,” for whom they promise to raise $40,000. Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal called Healey a “trailblazer for women’s rights, civil rights, and human rights.” Emily’s List has endorsed Healey, as well as her former boss Martha Coakley for governor. Healey needs the support: As of April 17, Healey had $363,644 in her campaign coffers compared to her Democratic primary opponent’s $602,400.

CARL DEMAIO ON LGBT INTOLERANCE:

DemaioRealClearPolitics.com quoted openly gay Republican U.S. House candidate Carl DeMaio about how he’s been received by opposite ends of the political spectrum: "I've found more tolerance, acceptance and inclusion from social conservative groups who have to reconcile that I'm a Republican who happens to be gay...versus the intolerance the LGBT leaders see me as a gay man who happens to be a Republican."

FRANK’S BURNING MEMORIES:

A just previewed documentary about the life of former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank includes a story about Frank receiving a letter from one of his former roommates at Harvard in which the roommate told Frank he was gay and had a crush on Frank. According to the Boston Globe, Frank was not openly gay at the time and feared that being so would hurt his political career. He burned the letter and gave the roommate no indication he was gay, too.

GRIFFIN ECHOES ‘ONE CHAPTER’:

GriffinNew York Times reporter Jo Becker has defended criticism of her book about “inside the fight for marriage equality” (Forcing the Spring) by saying it’s about “one chapter” of that decades-long battle. Her chapter is the Proposition 8 litigation organized by Chad Griffin and his American Foundation for Equal Rights, which included lead attorney Ted Olson. Griffin was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe talk show Tuesday morning and was immediately tackled with a question about all the criticism Becker’s received for focusing her book squarely on Griffin as a sort of “Rosa Parks” for marriage equality. Griffin has issued statements vigorously acknowledging that he is not the lone hero of the marriage equality movement. He did so again on Morning Joe. Interestingly, his questioner was an old comrade from AFER –Nicole Wallace. Wallace served as a spokesperson for AFER when Griffin was in charge and she’s also worked for the Human Rights Campaign, which Griffin leads now. “What was so interesting to me,” said Wallace, talking to Griffin, “was to see how raw nerves were within the movement –that there were activists who were so offended by the attention paid to what I think a lot of people on the outside thought was a very important chapter.”

Watch the Morning Joe segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

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Barney Frank's Husband Calls Documentary About his Life 'Rude' and 'Embarrassing': VIDEO

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Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank premiered over the weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival. The filmmakers were given full access to follow Frank "everywhere but the bathroom," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Frank and his husband Jim Ready are not too happy with the final product, according to remarks at a Q&A with producer Alec Baldwin after the film's screening, THR reports:

“I don't understand why the moviemakers would want to embarrass someone who went out of the way to let them make a movie about him,” Ready told Baldwin. “That kind of bothered me.” What specifically bothered Ready was the movie’s inclusion of the 1989 scandal involving Frank hiring a male prostitute to be his live-in driver and housekeeper. Frank was accused of allowing his houseguest to run a prostitution ring out of his home, but after being investigated by the House Ethics Committee, he was found innocent and was reprimanded only for using his congressional office to fix his driver’s parking tickets.

“I really think that was irrelevant to put that in there,” added Ready. “It’s embarrassing ... it's just kind of rude," Ready said in reference to the fact there were family members in the audience, including Franks' great aunt, who asked a question earlier in the Q&A. Baldwin then quickly attempted to lighten the mood by referencing his own public controversies, saying, “There's a lot of things I'd like them to leave out of my movie.” He then added, after getting a laugh from the crowd, “It's not always that easy.”

The filmmakers defend their inclusion of the controversy in an interview with THR.

Watch the film's trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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The Barney Frank Documentary Trailer Will Get You A Little Choked Up - VIDEO

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Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank — the documentary about the outspoken and openly gay former U.S. Representative from Massachusetts — will make its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, but you can watch its trailer here.

According to OUT.com, "The documentary encompassed the time from Frank's coming out in 1987 (he was the first congressman to do so voluntarily) until his wedding to Jim Ready in 2012." But it mostly focuses on Frank's commitment to his congressional role as well as his eventual retirement from a job he seemed to love, as described in the Tribeca Film Festival program:

The film is a rare and intimate peek into the life of Barney Frank, the quick-witted, cantankerous, and first openly gay Congressman in the United States. On the verge of his retirement, Frank reflects on his 40 years in office and the role his own homosexuality played in his campaigns for social justice. A flawless example of when the personal meets the political, with incredible “bare all” access, this documentary reveals Frank as one of the most sharp-tongued, entertaining, and lionhearted politicians of our time.

The film was also executively produced by Alec Baldwin, the actor who has come under fire for using gay slurs against those who annoy him.

Watch the trailer AFTER THE JUMP...

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