Former Massachusetts Congressman Barney
Frank says he knows of 7 closeted members of Congress.
The 73-year-old Frank has the
distinction of being the first openly gay member of Congress and the
first to enter a marriage with a member of the same sex.
Frank spoke over the weekend at the
Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco. The organization
is the oldest and largest non-partisan public affairs forum in the
“I'm glad to see so many of you who
apparently have attention spans that exceed a tweet,” Frank is
quoted as saying by San Francisco gay weekly The
Bay Area Reporter.
He praised former President Bill
Clinton as “a hero of gay rights.” Clinton, Frank said, was
strong-armed by anti-gay Republicans into signing “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell,” the now-ended law which prohibited openly gay military
“[I]t was the best Clinton could do”
at the time, he said.
Frank also told the audience, estimated
at 500, that “being gay in Washington D.C., is not easy,” adding
that he knew of three senators and four House members who are
closeted, but he refused to mention names.