Massachusetts Representative Barney
Frank is not backing down from his remarks that this weekend's gay
march on Washington is “a waste of time at best.”
Frank, the nation's most powerful
openly gay elected official, criticized the effort a second time in
less than a week.
On Tuesday, he said on the Michelangelo
Signorile radio show: “I literally don't understand how this
will do anything. People are kidding themselves. I don't want
people patting themselves on the back for doing something that is
useless. Barack Obama does not need the pressure.”
Thousands of gay activists are expected
to descend on Washington to press Congress – and the president –
for action on gay rights legislation at Sunday's National Equality
March. Organizers say they are disillusioned with the new
administration's sluggish pace on gay and lesbian rights.
There is no word that President Obama
has accepted an invitation to speak at the march.
The president renewed his promise to
end the military's ban on open gay service in a speech to 3,000 gay
activists at Saturday's Human Rights Campaign (HRC) fundraiser in
“I will end 'don't ask, don't tell',”
Obama told a cheering crowd. “That is my commitment to you.”
Protesters outside the Walter E.
Washington Convention Center held up banners urging the president to
live up to his campaign promises.
In an interview Friday with The
Associated Press, Frank called the march “an emotional
“The only thing they're going to be
putting pressure on is the grass,” he said.
Frank urged protesters to lobby their
elected officials in place of marching, adding that most lawmakers
having returned home for the holiday weekend would not hear their
“Call or write your representative or
senator, and then have your friends call and write their
representative or senator,” Frank said. “That's what the NRA
does. That's what the AARP does.”