Washington, DC —
Openly gay Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts has announced he will not seek re-election for 2012.
The 71-year-old Massachusetts Democrat began his career in the Massachusetts State House, where he served for eight years before winning a seat in the U.S. Congress in 1980. He serves the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts, and he is also the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee.
In 1987, Frank became the first congressman to voluntarily announce his homosexuality.
There are currently four openly gay Democrats in the U.S. House including Rep. Frank, Jared Polis (D-Colo.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
Polis and Cicilline, both incumbents seeking re-election. Baldwin, a lesbian, plans to leave the House at the end of this year to pursue a run for the U.S. Senate.
"Barney Frank was and is a total embarrassment to average gay people. He won't be missed," GOProud co-founder Chris Barron said via Twitter.
GOProud, a conservative gay Republican group, supported Frank's 2010 opponent Sean Bielat, who opposed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The group paid for homophobic ads that characterized Frank as "catty."
Frank, who is in his 16th term, said he would hold a news conference Monday afternoon to explain his decision.