Barney Frank in praise of ... Ted Cruz?

Frank: Cruz represents evolution in same-sex marriage
Frank: Cruz represents evolution in same-sex marriage   

Tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz won praise from liberal Democrat Barney Frank on Thursday, after the Texas Republican said he believes the decision to allow same-sex marriage belongs in the hands of the states.

Frank, the retired openly gay congressman from Massachusetts, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that Cruz's comments represent an evolution in favor of allowing same-sex marriage.

"It's even more vindication that the country is moving when someone on the right takes that position," Frank said.

Barney Frank
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Barney Frank

Earlier, Cruz appeared on the program as news was breaking about Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing he's gay.

Read MoreI'm grateful Tim Cook said he's gay: Barney Frank

"I support marriage between one man and one woman," Cruz said in the "Squawk Box" interview. "And I support the Constitution letting each state decide each marriage law consistent with the values of their citizens."

He added, "If the citizens of California decide they want to allow gay marriage, that's a decision for them."

Read MoreCruz warns on another GOP Romney-type

In response, Frank said: "Ted Cruz is one of the most conservative people in American politics. He just made a very important statement that you ran on the air, in which he said, 'If a state wants to have same-sex marriage, that's OK.' That is an advance over the conservative position of just 10 years ago."

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