Updated Sunday: More wedding details below.
It was by choice that Rep. Barney Frank came out of the closet 25 years ago — not the first gay congressman, but the first to announce voluntarily that he was gay.
On Saturday, he took another deliberate first step: By exchanging vows in Massachusetts with his longtime boyfriend Jim Ready six months before his planned retirement, Frank will spend the rest of his time in office as the nation’s first congressman in a same-sex marriage.
“I think it’s important,” he told New York magazine in April, “that my colleagues interact with a married gay man.”
About 300 friends and relatives gathered at the Boston Marriott hotel in Newton, Mass., to see the veteran Democratic lawmaker, 72 — who has represented that district since 1981 — wed Ready, 42, the owner of a carpentry/welding/custom awnings shop and an avid outdoorsman. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, an early champion of the state’s first-in-the-nation legalization of gay marriage, served as officiant overseeing the rather personalized ceremony, according to the congressman’s office:
Do you promise to love each other and be each other’s best friend,
In sickness and in health,
In Congress or in retirement,
Whether the surf is up or the surf’s flat,
For richer or for poorer,
Under the Democrats or the Republicans,
Whether the slopes are powdery or icy,
Whether the book reviews are good or bad,
For better or for worse,
On MSNBC or on Fox,
For as long as you both shall live.
Otherwise, sounds like it was just your average Beltway power-broker wedding: The grooms were hoisted in chairs during the Horah, we’ve heard, and Nancy Pelosi cut a rug on the dance floor to some swing tunes. Other guests included Sen. John Kerry; Reps. Steny Hoyer, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Keating, Rosa DeLauro, Anna Eshoo, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Jim McGovern; and D.C. strategist types Hilary Rosen, Robert Raben, Steve Elmendorf and Frank’s sister Ann Lewis.
Frank announced last fall that he would not seek reelection this year, citing the rigors of the job and his desire to devote more time to his personal life. He and Ready, who met at a fundraiser in 2005, have been a couple since 2007.
Update: We learned a few more details about the wedding:
• The private ceremony (no press) was really short — at Frank’s request, it lasted just five minutes.
• The couple wore matching Joseph Abboud tuxedos and colorful bow ties. The dozen groomsmen wore Abboud suits (a gift from Frank and Ready because the company is based in Massachusetts).
• They exchanged rings selected by Ready — black diamonds set in tungsten, a welding metal.
• After the outdoor ceremony, guests had cocktails on the banks of the Charles River, then went inside for a seated dinner and dancing. No first dance for the grooms.
• Befitting a politician’s wedding, guests received a campaign button, of sorts, in their gift bags: “Barney and Jim for Congress” — with “Forever” stamped across the word “Congress.”
• Lots of VIP names, but Frank did not invite President Obama because he did not want the presidential security team to disrupt the small town, he told C-Span in May: “I don’t want to be accused of having shut down the entire region for a five-mile radius on a holiday weekend. I don’t want my guests going through a magnetometer . . . not to my party.”
Read earlier: Barney Frank engaged to boyfriend Jim Ready, 1/26/12
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