Rep. Frank: 'Zero chance' of gay rights legislation passing Congress next year

With Republicans taking control of Congress next year, Rep. Barney Frank said Tuesday there is "zero chance" that gay-rights legislation will pass.

“Next year there’s no chance of anything happening,” Frank (D-Mass.), perhaps the most prominent openly gay lawmaker, told the Washington Blade. “There’s zero chance.”

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Congress has yet to pass the most pressing issue to many gay-rights activists, the repeal of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy against openly gay military service members.

Frank expressed hope that Congress would pass the defense authorization bill with the repeal of "Don't ask" attached during the lame-duck session, which begins next week.

But Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) has been working to strip the repeal from the defense bill. The legislation failed a test vote in September with the repeal and an immigration bill called the DREAM Act attached to it. The House passed the bill earlier this year with the repeal included. 

But Frank ruled out the passage next year of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would outlaw workplace harassment on the basis of sexual orientation.

"The Republicans have become much more anti-gay in their voting patterns," Frank said. "There is zero chance of anything good happening with Republicans in control of the House."

The outgoing chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, however, said that the GOP won't necessarily be able to roll back existing gay rights.

"It will be a status quo," he said. "They don’t have the votes to hurt us, but we don’t have the votes to advance anything in the cause."