US: Retiring gay Congressman Barry Frank says he’ll consider role of temporary Senator

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The retiring Democrat Congressman Barney Frank has indicated that he would be willing to serve as a temporary senator should John Kerry be appointed the next Secretary of State.

Mr Frank represents Massachusetts’s 4th district in the House of Representatives and steps down in the New Year. He was the first congressman to voluntarily declare being gay, as well as being the first congressman to have a same-sex marriage while in office.

If Mr Kerry is nominated and confirmed to replace Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Governor Deval Patrick would need to appoint a temporary senator until a special election can be held much later next year.

Speaking to Politico, Mr Frank said that he wouldn’t say “no” to a short- erm appointment, should he be offered.

“The governor ought to be free to make whatever choices he makes. In Massachusetts, you’re talking about an interim, not a permanent appointment. I certainly would not take on any long-term appointment,” Mr Frank said. “As for an interim thing, I think accepting offers that haven’t been made is kind of presumptuous.”

Asked by the publication to clarify his answer, Mr Frank said his answer was “not a ‘no’ or a ‘yes.’ Rejecting an offer that hasn’t been made is also presumptuous.”

If Mr Frank were to be appointed as a temporary senator, he’d be the first openly gay male member of the Senate. Tammy Baldwin was elected as the first openly lesbian senator last month and will take her seat in the New Year.

Last week, Mr Frank said that it was a mistake to take the Prop 8 equal marriage case to the Supreme Court explaining: “I was critical of the decision to take Prop 8 to court.”

“I don’t the think the five-member Supreme Court majority that we have is ready to declare that there is a constitutional right to marry everywhere.

“To bring a lawsuit when you’re not likely to win it, prematurely, is a mistake. So I was very critical of those people in California who were doing that.