In a ceremony officiated by the governor of Massachusetts, US Representative Barney Frank and his longtime partner, Jim Ready, were married Saturday.
“As you might imagine, at the request of the congressman, this service will be short and to the point,” said Governor Deval Patrick.
Patrick then asked the couple whether they would love each other “under the Democrats or the Republicans, whether the slopes are powdery or icy, whether the book reviews are good or bad, for better or for worse, on MSNBC or on Fox.”
While reporters were not allowed into the Marriott Newton, where the ceremony was held, a statement from Frank spokesman Harry Gural said the couple were married at about 6:30 p.m. in front of some 300 guests.
“I’m thrilled for him,” US Representative James P. McGovern, a Worcester Democrat, said outside the hotel. “Massachusetts has always led the way, but Barney has been out front on civil rights issues for a while.”
Frank, a 72-year-old Newton Democrat, has served in Congress since 1981 and was the first openly gay member of Congress. Before elected to Congress, he served eight years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
He is the first sitting member of Congress to enter a same-sex marriage.
Ready, 42, lives in Ogunquit, Maine. He works as a photographer and runs a small business that does custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding, and other services, according to a statement from Gural.
The pair met in November 2005 at a political fund-raiser in Ogunquit in support of gay rights and legislation promoting non-discrimination in the workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens, Gural said.
In October 2010, Ready made headlines when he confronted Sean Bielat, a Norfolk Republican who was running against Frank for Congress.
After a debate between the candidates, Ready approached Bielat, who was speaking to reporters, and began taking pictures of Bielat. When Bielat acknowledged Ready’s actions, Ready responded, “It’s a free country, isn’t it?” and “Get used to it, dude. If you want to be a congressman, this is nothing.”
In an interview afterward, Frank said: “Jim should have broken it off and not responded. But Bielat shouldn’t have initiated the conversation. I don’t see what was inappropriate about taking his picture.”
For Saturday’s wedding, guests began filtering into the Marriott in the late afternoon.
Susan Fliegel, 72, of Chestnut Hill, was at the wedding and said she worked on Frank’s campaign staff. She said that while she is very happy for Frank, who said he will not seek reelection in 2013, she wishes he would reconsider running for another term.
“I’m definitely going to miss him as my congressman,” she said.
Guests included US Senator John F. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California; US Representative John F. Tierney, a Salem Democrat; US Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat; and US Representative Al Green, a Texas Democrat who served with Frank on the House Financial Services Committee.
“He’s a wonderful person,” Green said. “[Frank] is one of the most brilliant persons I’ve ever known.” President Obama was not invited because Frank said he did not want the Secret Service presence to inconvenience the town or his guests.
Some guests said that they believe the wedding represents a benchmark for the country.
“It’s a step forward for everyone,” said Mike Tighe, 58, of Ogunquit.
Tighe attended the ceremony with his partner, Chris Prudente, 53. Tighe said he met Frank while living in Massachusetts, and Ready when he moved to Maine.