Outgoing Congressman Barney Frank, who is openly gay, yesterday endorsed Democratic Congressman John Tierney of Salem over Tierney’s openly gay Republican challenger, Richard Tisei.
Frank endorsed Tierney in what is a tight race for the 6th Congressional District. Frank said in a 12:30 p.m. conference call with reporters that the climate in Washington has become so partisan that “there are no effective moderate Republicans.”
“I have become more partisan in reaction to the tea party,” Frank said as he explained his endorsement, adding that Tierney’s election would be “better for the advancement for the legal equality we are seeking.”
“The fact that Richard Tisei is openly gay is a good thing now, and a good thing for the country,” Frank said, but it is not a reason to endorse him.
Tisei said it is not news that Frank would back Tierney, who he admits “has a good record on LGBT issues, and so do I.”
Tisei, who does not endorse the national Republican platform against same-sex marriage, said if elected he would have a national voice on equality and fairness issues close to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, especially as a member of the House majority party.
“There is not an analyst in the entire country who is predicting the Democrats will retake the majority,” Tisei said, giving him an opportunity to break the mold of what it means to be a Republican. “You will never have equality unless you have people on both sides.”
But Frank said Tisei’s party affiliation would only add to a Republican majority with a leadership that has moved so far to the right, it would refuse to take up any anti-discrimination legislation Tisei might champion.
“Tisei’s election is a further obstacle to them even coming up,” Frank said, because there is no guarantee that even if he is elected, Tisei will be effective. “If Mr. Tisei is suggesting he will get (House Speaker) Mr. (John) Boehner to bring up LGBT legislation, he is wrong on that.”