04/16/2012 01:00 pm ET

Barney Frank Explains Importance Of Getting Married While Still In Office

Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is set to become the first member of Congress in a same-sex marriage, said it was important for him to get married while still in office, according to an interview published in New York magazine Sunday.

"There’s an unintended benefit. I want to get married. I do think, to be honest, if I was running for reelection, I might have tried to put the marriage off until after the election, because it just becomes a complication," he said. "But I did want to get married while I was still in office. I think it’s important that my colleagues interact with a married gay man."

Frank's office said in late January that the that he and Jim Ready had gotten engaged but didn't have a date yet. Frank told USA Today in early February that the date was July.

The two met in October 2005 at a fundraiser in Maine. After Ready's partner died in January 2007, they began a relationship.

Frank was elected to Congress in 1980, and came out to the public in 1987. In the interview with New York, Frank said that after he came out former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) shouted "I’m proud of you!" across a Washington, D.C. grocery store.

The Massachusetts congressman announced last November that he was retiring at the end of his term. He initially said he was running for reelection, but changed his mind after the state's redistricting process included many new constituents that he had not represented and removed constituents that he had.