Frank announces plans to marry his longtime partner; no date set

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Retiring Rep. Barney Frank, the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, said Thursday that he will marry his longtime partner, Jim Ready.

Frank spokesman Harry Gural said the liberal Massachusetts Democrat’s wedding will be in his home state, but that no date had been set.

Mr. Ready, a 42-year-old photographer, lives in Ogunquit, Maine. He has a small business doing custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding and other general handyman services, Mr. Gural said. The two men have been together since spring 2007.

Mr. Frank, 71, was attending a retreat Thursday with other House Democrats on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In November, Mr. Frank announced that he was retiring at the end of his current term, after serving in Congress since 1981.

During an appearance on PBS’ “The Charlie Rose Show” earlier this month, Mr. Frank said he was looking forward to leaving Congress and spending time with Mr. Ready.

“Look, I have a partner now, Jim Ready; I have an emotional attachment. I’m in love for the first time in my life,” Mr. Frank said on the show.

Gay-rights supporters saluted Mr. Frank’s engagement but noted that the federal Defense of Marriage Act means the federal government would not recognize Mr. Ready. DOMA blocks the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions and says states that don’t have such marriages don’t have to recognize marriages performed in states that do.

“It is, of course, somewhat ironic that because of DOMA and because Barney is a federal employee, Jim won’t be eligible for any of the benefits that any other spouse would be able to get,” said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Boston legal rights organization that brought the lawsuit that led to Massachusetts becoming the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage.

Mr. Ready was charged in August 2007 with marijuana cultivation for allegedly growing more than five marijuana plants on his property, records from the York County, Maine, district attorney’s office show.

That charge was dismissed after Mr. Ready complied with a deferred disposition agreement and admitted to a charge of civil possession of marijuana. Mr. Frank later told the Boston Globe that he was at Mr. Ready’s house when Mr. Ready was arrested, but that he never saw the marijuana and has never smoked any.

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