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Rep. Frank Discusses Health Law, Gay Rights In Interview

This article is more than 11 years old.

New York Magazine is out today with a lengthy interview with Rep. Barney Frank, the 16-term Massachusetts congressman who announced in November that he's retiring.

Rep. Barney Frank, last year, after announcing he will not seek re-election in 2012 (AP)
Rep. Barney Frank, last year, after announcing he will not seek re-election in 2012 (AP)

The 72-year-old is characteristically open and frank throughout the interview, especially on the intense legislative battle over President Obama's national health care law:

I think [Obama] underestimated, as did [President] Clinton, the sensitivity of people to what they see as an effort to make them share the health care with poor people.

I think we paid a terrible price for health care. I would not have pushed it as hard. As a matter of fact, after Scott Brown won, I suggested going back. I would have started with financial reform but certainly not health care.

Earlier this year, the openly gay Frank also announced that he plans to wed his longtime partner in a ceremony that's now planned for July in Massachusetts.

In the New York interview, Frank said, "I did want to get married while I was still in office. I think it’s important that my colleagues interact with a married gay man."

He then discussed the larger issue of gay marriage:

It’s moving very rapidly. And I think within ten years, we’re going to have pretty close to full legal equality for gay and lesbian people in much of America. There still won’t be marriage rights, I believe, in many states, but there will be marriage rights in states that are at least half of the population, and there’ll be no federal restriction on recognizing that. It’s moved very quickly.

Earlier this month, a legal challenge to that federal restriction on recognizing gay marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act, was argued in Boston court.

This program aired on April 17, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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