Rep. Barney Frank has little faith there will be a federal remedy for gays seeking to marry anytime soon, but he also believes marriage equality is quickly fading as a controversial issue while antigay prejudice becomes less acceptable in society.
In a May interview with Playboy on subjects ranging from health care reform to the legalization of marijuana, the Massachusetts congressman said, "Overall I think antigay prejudice is on its way out."
An excerpt from the interview:
Playboy: Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Although states may allow same-sex marriage, only recently did Obama say the federal government would no longer defend DOMA in court.
Rep. Frank: There are lawsuits against it that I think will win anyway, because the federal government can't discriminate. Beyond that I don't see anything about gay marriage happening on a federal level. More and more states will go that way, though. When they do, people will see, as with health care and the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," that there are no negative consequences. Places that have gay marriage have had none of the negative consequences that people warned us about. Zero. The divorce rate hasn't gone up. There have been no calamities. Marriage hasn't lost its meaning. Same-sex marriage as a divisive issue is losing its steam. Overall I think antigay prejudice is on its way out.
Playboy: Antigay sentiments are still expressed, often from the conservative right and especially from the Christian right. There are still hate crimes against gays. Rep. Frank: Yes, and we have to deal with them. We passed a bill to add crimes against gays and lesbians as hate crimes. Hate crimes, whether against gays or anyone else, can't be tolerated. Overall, antigay prejudice is diminishing. It won't be used by the far right the way it once was. It just doesn't work anymore. But I worry about what will replace it. I think they will increasingly focus on abortion, escalating it as their issue to inflame people. They'll work on whittling away the right to have an abortion, striking down any federal funding.