Retiring Rep. Barney Frank, a gay pioneer in Congress, said Thursday that he will marry his longtime partner, Jim Ready.
Frank spokesman Harry Gural said that the liberal Massachusetts Democrat's wedding will be in his home state but that no date had been set.
Ready, 42, lives in Ogunquit, Maine. He has a small business doing custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding and other general handyman services, Gural said. Ready is also a photographer. The two men have been together since spring 2007.
During an appearance on PBS' "The Charlie Rose Show" earlier this month, Frank, 71, said he was looking forward to leaving Congress and spending time with Ready.
"Look, I have a partner now, Jim Ready; I have an emotional attachment. I'm in love for the first time in my life," Frank said on the show.
Gay rights supporters saluted Frank's engagement but noted that because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, Ready would not enjoy the same rights as other spouses.
DOMA blocks the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions and says states that don't have such marriages don't have to recognize marriages performed in states that do.
"It is, of course, somewhat ironic that because of DOMA and because Barney is a federal employee, Jim won't be eligible for any of the benefits that any other spouse would be able to get," said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Boston legal rights organization that brought the case that led to Massachusetts becoming the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage.
Frank won his House seat in 1980 and was one of the first lawmakers to come out of the closet.