Clarifying the record
Post reporter Paul Kane gave an inaccurate picture of my criticism of Richard Tisei’s candidacy for the U.S. House in the Sept. 30 news article “Defying Republican expectations,” perhaps because he has never talked with me about the subject.
When I said in a conference call that I welcomed Mr. Tisei’s being out of the closet but that it would not do any good for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, I was referring specifically to the possibility of enacting legislation to promote legal equality for LGBT people. My point was that Mr. Tisei’s election will help Republicans maintain control of the House, and that as long as they do, none of the pro-equality legislation that Mr. Tisei supports will be allowed to come up. While he says that he will speak to House Speaker John Boehner about the issue, I do not know anyone — and I include Mr. Tisei in this — who thinks that he would be successful in getting a speaker who has been energetically opposed to LGBT equality to alter his position.
As to the supposed argument that I am critical of Mr. Tisei for, as the article paraphrased it, “his unwillingness to agitate” for gay rights. I have never said any such thing. What I have said is that the advocacy in which Mr. Tisei has recently engaged — earlier in his career, he was an opponent of pro- LGBT equality legislation — has been ineffective. For example, in 2010, while running for lieutenant governor with Republican gubernatorial nominee Charles Baker in Massachusetts, Mr. Tisei was not only unable to persuade Mr. Baker to support a transgender-inclusive amendment to our anti- discrimination law, he could not even get him to stop ridiculing it as the “bathroom bill.”
The two points merge. Had Mr. Tisei been successful in helping Mr. Baker become governor, instead of that important bill extending protections to transgender people becoming law as it did, it would have been vetoed.
Barney Frank, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts’s 4th District in the House.