First openly gay congressman attacks Victory Fund for backing gay Republican

The first member of Congress to come out as gay has attacked the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund for backing a gay Republican candidate against a straight pro-equality Democrat.

Barney Frank – who came out in 1987 and retired from the House of Representatives last year – spoke out in support of straight Massachusetts Representative John Tierney, who is facing a challenge backed by the Victory Fund from openly gay Republican Richard Tisei.

He told Huffington Post: “I do believe it is very important to support gay and lesbian candidates, but the notion that we will tell an incumbent who has been absolutely perfect on gay, lesbian, bisexual [and] transgender issues – absolutely perfect – that perfection will do no good because he has sex with the wrong person, is the antithesis of what we should be fighting for.”

Dismissing the criticism, Victory Fund spokesman Steven Thai said: “Ultimately, we know that the only way to change the face of politics is by electing individuals. And the only way we are going to proactively move the Republican Party to supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is by electing folks to start that conversation within the party.

“We believe that [Richard Tisei] will help spark further conversation and dialogue within that caucus on the importance of these issues.

“To help propel the movement forward, we need partners on the right. And we need change to happen within [the GOP].”

Tisei said: “Clearly the Republican Party needs to evolve on LGBT issues, and I hope to be a catalyst to help move that process further along.

“During the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts I looked Mitt Romney in the eye and told him he was wrong on this issue and on the wrong side of history. I’ll have no problem telling John Boehner the same thing when I’m in Washington.”