Former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank believes his marriage to Jim Ready polls better than his service in 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.

On Saturday, Frank was honored at Equality Forum's Global LGBT Summit with the group's International Role Mode Award. The 4-day conference is taking place in Philadelphia.

Frank told CBS Philly that he was honored to receive the award and that he has seen a lot progress on gay rights since he was a teenager.

“In 1953 and 54 when I was a young teenager, I realized that I was attracted to being in government, but I also realized that I was attracted to men. I thought the two were at conflict and that as a gay man – although we didn't use the term 'gay' back then – that I would never be able to pursue my interest in government.”

The 50s and 60s “was a time when the New York Times was referring to people like me as a 'pervert' in the headlines. Fast forward 60 years and things have flipped. I think my marriage to my husband Jim polls better than my service in Congress,” Frank said.

Equality Forum also honored Cuba's Mariela Castro with its International Ally Award and Excelon with its International Leadership Award. The conference ends Sunday.