Barney Frank, the only out gay man in the US House of Representatives, has said he is backing Senator Hillary Clinton in her bid for the White House.
The 67-year-old, who has represented the 4th District of Massachusetts since 1981, will serve as an economic adviser to Senator Clinton during the campaign.
The former First Lady continues to lead the Democrat field for the Presidential nomination ahead of the first primary elections in January.
“Based on my work with her on issues involving discrimination, I am convinced that Hillary Clinton is the candidate best equipped to pass laws that will treat all Americans with dignity, fairness, and equality, no matter who they are or who they love,” said Congressman Frank.
An outsider in Congress, Harvard-educated Frank has a sharp tongue and is consistently voted one of the funniest members of the House.
He was appointed chairman of the powerful Financial Services Committee in January.
“Barney has devoted his life to championing economic fairness and civil rights and expanding opportunity for all Americans,” said Senator Clinton.
“I’m delighted he’ll take a leadership role in our campaign.”
Representative Frank commented in 1996 that he is used to being in the minority, being a left-handed, Jewish homosexual.
He came out in 1987, and his political opponents have tried to smear and unseat him on many occasions.
Many opponents thought he was politically dead after a rent boy scandal in 1990.
Attempts to expel him failed – the House voted 408-18 to reprimand him instead.
The people of his district stuck with him through the scandal – he won re-election in 1990 with 66 percent of the vote. In 2006 he ran unopposed.
In 1998, he founded the National Stonewall Democrats, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Democratic pressure group.
He has been a vocal and articulate defender of LGBT rights but faced recent criticism for removing protections for trans people from a bill to protect LGBT people from employment discrimination, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to ensure it passed the House.