Frank: U.S. Not Ready for Gay President

BY Julie Bolcer

December 20 2010 10:25 AM ET

The openly gay congressman from Massachusetts told Maureen Dowd of The New York Times that the existence of the Defense of Marriage Act shows that the United States is not ready for a gay president because it raises the question, “Would his partner have to pay rent in the White House?”

Dowd explored the possibility of a gay president in light of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and prompted by recent comments from President Jimmy Carter, who said he felt the country is ready for a gay commander-in-chief.

In response, Dowd writes, “I called Barney Frank, assuming the gay pioneer would be optimistic. He wasn’t. ‘It’s one thing to have a gay person in the abstract,’ he said. ‘It’s another to see that person as part of a living, breathing couple. How would a gay presidential candidate have a celebratory kiss with his partner after winning the New Hampshire primary? The sight of two women kissing has not been as distressful to people as the sight of two men kissing.’”

Congressman Frank also said that DOMA raises thorny questions about partner recognition for the first spouse.

“Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, he added, ‘it’s not clear that a gay president could use federal funds to buy his husband dinner. Would his partner have to pay rent in the White House? There would be no Secret Service protection for the paramour.’”

Read the column here.









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