Mazel Tov, Barney Frank!

Our combustible, trailblazing congressman is about to get hitched.

Illustration by Josue Evilla

Before Barney Frank, homosexuality was, unquestionably, a political liability. Exposing a gay man’s sexual orientation — outing him — was a way of discrediting him. But Frank began to change that in 1987, when he became the first congressman to voluntarily reveal that he was gay.

This month, he and his longtime partner, James Ready, will marry in Massachusetts. If you think their timing is suspicious — Frank’s retiring when his term ends this session— you’re right: Frank has often said that he wants his Congressional colleagues to experience serving alongside a married gay man. So the time is now.

There’s no question that the Frank–Ready wedding will mark another milestone for gay rights in America. But it’s been eight years since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, and around here, it’s easy to wonder sometimes what the big deal is.