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February 13, 2016

Barney Frank and the Technicolor Tribute

Retired Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., might not have had anything to do directly with the equality-advancing decisions the Supreme Court entered into the history books on Wednesday. But he certainly set the tone for the momentous occasion with the unveiling of his larger-than-life official portrait just a few hours before.

(Courtesy Geoff Browning/Baruch Shemtov)

(Courtesy Geoff Browning/Baruch Shemtov)

Those present to pay homage to the liberal firebrand included former Sen. (and financial reform co-author) Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., as well as Reps. David Cicilline, D-R.I., John D. Dingell, D-Mich., Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass., Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

The painting includes a host of imagery related to Frank’s legislative legacy and his passion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, including a rainbow flag as well as his custom wedding band. (The longest-serving openly gay lawmaker married his partner, Jim Ready, in 2012.)

Work-related flourishes range from stacks of crumpled newspapers (Frank was a voracious reader) to copies of the banking regs that now carry his name.

On the day after the Defense of Marriage Act was effectively relegated to the dustbin of history, Frank praised the high court’s call  (“It’s very consistent with people protection,” he argued), but he warned that the fight was far from over.

“Marriage will now be a state-by-state issue,” Frank said, urging activists to now turn their attention to getting non-discrimination safeguards on the books.

The rest, he suggested, will play out naturally.

“The more we have same-sex marriages, the more it becomes clear the arguments against them have no force,” Frank asserted.

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