Gay congressman coming to Dallas to deliver history lesson to GLBT activists at Stonewall fundraiser
Gay Congressman Barney Frank is coming to Dallas on March 18 with a history lesson he plans to deliver at a Stonewall Democrats fundraiser.
Frank said his message to gay Democrats will focus on the progress of the gay rights movement and how it can best be moved forward. Political activity, rather than protests, will achieve the best results, he said.
“It’s getting people registered and voting and supporting candidates,” Frank said during a telephone interview. And that’s where the history lesson starts to unfold.
“The biggest difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party is on GLBT rights,” Frank said. “You go back to 1976 and the parties were about equal.”
Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford began leaning towards tolerance, Frank said.
“You go back before that and both parties were terrible,” Frank said. “Carter and Ford were not great, but they were better than the country had been.”
Frank said Ronald Reagan’s administration veered the Republican Party toward ultra-conservatism while the Democratic Party began growing more liberal on GLBT issues.
“Since then the country as a whole has gotten better, although not nearly as quickly we would like,” Frank said. “The Democrats have improved at a rate greater than the country, and the Republicans have improved at a 8rate less than the country at large.”
Aligning the gay rights movement with the Democratic Party makes good sense, Frank said.
“Log Cabin Republicans’ mission is a nice one, but the fact is they have been woefully unsuccessful,” Frank said. “My problem with Log Cabin Republicans is not that they try I’m glad they try but they pretend success they don’t have.”
The detrimental effect of Republican Party control was seen when President Bush appointed two new Supreme Court justices who could tilt the court to the right, Frank said.
“If John Kerry had been elected president, neither Justice Roberts nor Justice Alito would be on the court,” Frank said. “We would have had two much more civil-libertarian-friendly justices than the two we have got.”
Frank said the 2006 election gives Democrats the opportunity to take over either the House of Representatives or the Senate or both.
“If we were able to take over both houses we would be able to pass some gay rights legislation,” Frank said.
“As long as George Bush is president he will probably veto it, but it would be helpful to get some of it passed.”
Frank said if Democrats were in control he believes passage of hate crime protection for GLBT people would be likely and an employment nondiscrimination act would be possible.
“Bush would veto it all, but it’s worth showing the majority is there,” Frank said.
Frank said it is too early to speculate what might happen in the 2008 Presidential race. Michael Moon, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, said Stonewall Democrats are excited to have Frank visit.
“Being the founder of Stonewall Democrats, he has been an icon in the community,” Moon said. “As currently the only openly gay member of congress, he is the kind of role model people like to look at.”
His visit in Dallas coincides with a meeting in Dallas of National Stonewall Democrats’ board of directors.
Frank has represented Massachusetts since 1981. He established National Stonewall Democrats in 1998.
The reception for Frank will be at the Melrose Hotel on March 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 each. For more information see
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 10, 2006.