CHARLOTTE — Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who is openly gay, slammed LGBT Republicans Thursday for standing by their party even as it refuses to budge on gay rights.
Speaking at an LGBT caucus meeting at the Democratic convention Thursday morning, Frank singled out the Log Cabin Republicans in particular for praising Paul Ryan’s selection to the national ticket despite his opposition to marriage rights and his vote against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
“I’m … inclined to think they’re called the Log Cabin Club because their role model is Uncle Tom,” Frank said to shocked murmurs from the packed crowd.
In a statement responding to a similar comment Frank made in a Huffington Post interview, the group accused Frank of undermining their efforts to remake the GOP.
“Frank calls us ‘Uncle Toms’ and pretends that Log Cabin hasn’t been on the front lines of the fight for equality,” Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said. “The truth is, by speaking conservative to conservative about gay rights, Log Cabin Republicans are doing some of the hardest work in the movement, work that liberals like Barney are unwilling to do and couldn’t do if they tried.”
Frank is also slated to speak Thursday during the convention’s closing night.
Democrats, who were on defense in 2004 over gay marriage amid Republican attacks, have made Obama’s support for marriage equality a major part of their convention speeches and events. Republicans have been just as reluctant to talk about the issue as Democrats have been willing to bring it up, maintaining their stance on marriage and taking a dig at gays in the military in the GOP platform while largely avoiding the topic in speeches.
Frank said Democratic success in turning public opinion to their side was no reason to let up on opponents of gay rights.
“A good general puts on the pressure when the enemy is slipping,” he said.
Among the top priorities Frank said only Democrats could achieve: repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and putting in place judges who believe in gay rights.
“With the right selection of president we will get a Supreme Court that I believe will at some point recognize marriage rights,” he said.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.