Barney Frank took some time to talk to Michelangelo Signorile while walking the exhibition hall at Netroots Nation on 21 June. Frank recently retired from the House of Representatives, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing on as an activist and voice of LGBT rights.
Frank answered some very pointed questions including about recent decisions from various Republicans to support same-sex marriage and whether or not the President should sign an executive order banning LGBT discrimination by government contractors.
Regarding the recent announcement out of Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that she supports same-sex marriage, Frank said “Forty-two to 3? No, not yet. And I don’t count Rob Portman — I mean, being nice to your son, you don’t get a lot of points. There are only two Republicans in the House who support marriage [equality]. It’s sadly still a very partisan issue.”
Frank apparently enjoyed himself while at the conference saying that it was “very relaxing” to be there as a private citizen not as a politician. He stated “I don’t have to be monitoring my phone calls to see if there’s a crisis in the district I represented. I can be focused on the event. I don’t have to be worried about being called by some federal official about a bank crisis or some other things.”
Frank did offer up an opinion that isn’t going to sit well with many LGBT activists. Frank does not want the President to sign an executive order banning LGBT discrimination among government contractors.
He said “I would have him not sign it yet. There’s a lot of attack on him for exceeding executive power and doing things by executive order. And he’s in a major fight over that about to come now, where he’s about to issue an executive order restricting emissions from power plants. And there’s even a danger that this right-wing [Supreme] Court would overturn that as too far. I would say this: push to take back the House from the right-wing, and if that happens, then we should push for it to be legislated, because if it’s legislated, then it’s for everybody. If we don’t take the House back, then before he goes out of office, he should do it. But I would ask him to — I would want him to hold off now and give us a chance to do this legislatively. But that will depend on the next election.”