Former U.S. representative Barney Frank is not afraid to speak his mind, and now, with his official political life behind him, he is sharing the cumulative wisdom of four decades as a national leader and opinion influencer in his memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage. On August 19, Frank spoke to an audience of 70 members from the Goodwin College community about the progress he has seen — or not — on a number of national and world issues.
In his introduction, Congressman John Larson, who had invited Frank to East Hartford for the discussion and book-signing, called him one of those leaders who was “retired but still passionate” and said that congressional colleagues are proud to say they served with him.
In speaking on the gradual acceptance of same-sex marriage, Frank, who married his husband, Jim Ready, in 2012, said that progress has come in unexpected ways. In Indiana, business owners who were simply focused on turning a profit pushed back against faith-based exceptions for those whose religious beliefs would allow them to discriminate against gay couples. “It was the business community that turned the tide,” he said.
Frank spoke on a number of issues before entertaining questions from the audience. Among the topics covered in the conversation were the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear proliferation proposal, immigration policies, decriminalizing recreational drugs, and the interesting dynamics of the upcoming presidential election.
Of the country’s overall role in global affairs, Frank observed that it’s time to realize that “it’s not the responsibility of the United States to solve every problem in the world.”