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AFA's Unlikely Ally: Barney Frank

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In its opposition to marriage equality, the antigay American Family Association issued a statement today announcing that it had an ally in a most unlikely politician: Massachusetts representative Barney Frank.

"For perhaps the first time in history, the AFA is urging members of Congress to listen to Barney Frank," said Bryan Fischer, AFA's director of issues analysis.

Frank, however, says that the AFA's assertions are farther from the truth. The congressman did not follow N.Y. representative Jerrold Nadler and his two openly gay colleagues, representatives Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin and Jared Polis from Colorado, in sponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act.

"Obviously this is hypocritical of the American Family Association because they'll disregard anything else I say," Frank told Advocate.com on Tuesday, "but it is an indication of the point that we're making the wrong judgment here. We should be defending the right for every state to have marriage on its own, and have that right validated."

Frank said he did not attach his name to the bill because of the other LGBT-related priorities that the Respect for Marriage Act may compromise.

"This allows [opponents like the AFA] to carry the argument, 'They're trying to put it in states where they've already voted against it.' Ultimately that's something I want to do, but to raise this now, particularly when there's zero chance, when we're trying to get [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] and 'don't ask, don't tell' and hate crimes and employee benefits for federal employees -- domestic-partnership benefits -- take care of all those, it is an unwise choice."

The AFA did not respond to The Advocate's request for comment by press time.

The bill, introduced on Tuesday, would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from acknowledging same-sex marriages. It also allows states that prohibit same-sex marriage in their jurisdiction to decide whether they will acknowledge marriages performed elsewhere.

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