Barney Frank and the Technicolor Tribute

Posted June 27, 2013 at 4:20pm

Retired Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., might not have had anything to do directly with the equality-advancing decisions the Supreme Court entered into the history books on Wednesday. But he certainly set the tone for the momentous occasion with the unveiling of his larger-than-life official portrait just a few hours before.

(Courtesy Geoff Browning/Baruch Shemtov)
(Courtesy Geoff Browning/Baruch Shemtov)

Those present to pay homage to the liberal firebrand included former Sen. (and financial reform co-author) Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., as well as Reps. David Cicilline, D-R.I., John D. Dingell, D-Mich., Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass., Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

The painting includes a host of imagery related to Frank’s legislative legacy and his passion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, including a rainbow flag as well as his custom wedding band. (The longest-serving openly gay lawmaker married his partner, Jim Ready, in 2012.)

Work-related flourishes range from stacks of crumpled newspapers (Frank was a voracious reader) to copies of the banking regs that now carry his name.

“Marriage will now be a state-by-state issue,” Frank said, urging activists to now turn their attention to getting non-discrimination safeguards on the books.

The rest, he suggested, will play out naturally.

“The more we have same-sex marriages, the more it becomes clear the arguments against them have no force,” Frank asserted.