05/01/2014 10:58 am ET Updated May 01, 2014

Barney Frank Says It's More Popular Being Gay Today Than It Is Being A Politician

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) opened up Wednesday about how the perception of being gay vs. being a politician has changed over the years.

In an interview on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," Frank explained that when he was entering politics, coming out as a homosexual "was not to be very popular." By the time he left office in 2012, thoughts had "flipped" on gay rights and public service.

“Spoiler alert,” Frank said. “By the time I retired, there was still a disparity between the popularity of being gay and the popularity of being a politician. But it had flipped. My marriage polled better than my service as a committee chairman.”

Back in 2012, Frank told the Washington Post about how he came to be the first openly gay congressional lawmaker. He spoke with a few of his House colleagues privately, including then-Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill (D-Mass.). O'Neill told his staff that Frank might soon be "coming out of the room," prompting aides to clarify that the correct term was "coming out of the closet."

In another late-2012 interview with Salon, Frank expressed confidence that the future of LGBT rights was bright. As marriage equality wins emerged in Maine, Maryland and other states, he said he felt good about the legacy left and the new faces at the head of the fight.

"I'd say within 10 years, we will have pretty much won this fight for equality," he said. "Only if we keep fighting, though, not if we ease up!"



Gay Marriage In The United States