Eight years after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts, and seven years after they met, U.S. Representative Barney Frank and carpenter-welder James Ready tied the knot Saturday in what The New York Times called a “low-key ceremony on the banks of the Charles River.”
The site was a Marriott hotel in Newton, Mass., with the state’s Gov. Deval L. Patrick officiating. The two reportedly pledged to love one another “on MSNBC or on Fox” and “in Congress or in retirement.”
As was noted, Frank, an outspoken Democratic activist and (since 1987) the first openly gay member of Congress, is now the first to wed a partner of the same sex.
“It’s about expanding freedom,” said one of the guests, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who also found it appropriate that the wedding took place near the 4th of July. “This opportunity was a long time coming.”
It was at a 2005 political fundraiser that Frank, now 72, and Ready, 42, met, they recounted for The Times. “I told him I had a crush on him for 20 years,” Ready said, recalling what Frank’s coming out meant to him as a teenager.
The Congressman’s reaction, he admitted with a laugh, was, “That I’m being rewarded for coming to this fundraiser.”
At the time, Ready’s partner was dying – but it was he who brought Ready to the fundraiser, with the hope Ready might meet a future partner.
Ready and Frank stuck up an initial friendship that developed into something more – although dating a Congressman hardly qualifies as an ordinary courtship. On the plus side, having a companion seemed to soften the usually gruff Frank.
According to The Times, one leading House Republican spotted Ready on Capitol Hill and told him, “I should’ve known you were here. Barney was nice to me today.”