Statement by NCLR Federal Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.

(San Francisco, November 28, 2011)—Today, Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass) announced he would not seek reelection in 2012, which signals an end to a 16-term congressional career that has spanned 30 years.

Frank was first elected in 1981, and in 1987, became the first sitting member of Congress to publicly come out as gay. Since that time, he has become a leading lawmaker advancing the rights of the LGBTQ community. He has been instrumental in the passage of a number of pro-equality pieces of legislation including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the repeal of the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:

“Congressman Barney Frank has been a strong and unapologetic leader in Congress on gay issues for more than two decades, courageously serving as the first openly gay Congressperson when Bowers v. Hardwick was still law. Time after time, Congressman Frank has stood tall and put himself personally on the line to change the way that those on Capitol Hill and all branches of government treat LGBTQ people. Others have followed in his footsteps, but he led the way. We would not be where we are today as a movement or as a nation without Congressman Frank’s leadership. His particular brand of fierce and unyielding leadership on behalf of the LGBTQ community—and on so many issues of critical import to the nation—will be sorely missed when he retires.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.