Tisei, a former state senator and state Senate minority leader from Wakefield, said he understands there are those in the Republican leadership who disagree with him on social issues, but said his calls for equality will stand out.
“He’s singing in a chorus with a lot of other people,” Tisei said of Tierney and the Democrats. “I will provide leadership.”
Tisei also said being in the majority party in the House would allow him to do more for the district, not just on issues of equality, but on taxes, issues important to small businesses and ways to control the national debt.
Frank pointed out that Tisei already had a hard time getting his party leadership to go along with him 2010, when he backed a transgender anti-discrimination bill, also known as “the bathroom bill.” At the time, he was also candidate for lieutenant governor and running mate for Republican gubernatorial challenger Charlie Baker.
“He couldn’t get Charlie Baker to stop making fun of it,” Frank said.
“There was tremendous pressure for me to change on that bill,” said Tisei, who said he refused to back down. “I stood for what I believe in, and that’s what you need in Washington.”
At one point in the conference call, Frank was asked about an organization that supports him, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and its endorsement of Tisei. Frank said that, given the number of people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community serving in office, it does not make sense to back someone solely on their orientation, as had been the case 10 or 20 years ago.
“I think the Victory Fund is suffering a cultural lag,” Frank said.
Tisei, however, said it is Frank who is behind the times.
While Tisei said Frank played an important role in the advancement of gay rights, Tisei said: “I represent the next wave.”
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.