Andrew Harmon at The Advocate reports:
Chad Griffin, the Los Angeles-based political consultant whose central role in the Proposition 8 lawsuit turned him into a national LGBT rights figure, has been named president of the Human Rights Campaign.
Griffin will take over at HRC just five months prior to the November elections in a year both precarious and promising for LGBT rights. Anti-marriage equality referendums loom in multiple states following huge victories in the Washington and Maryland legislatures. Meanwhile, political candidates including Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who’s in a tight race to become the first openly gay U.S. senator, are vying to add greater diversity among elected officials.
And Griffin’s position at the organization will require a broader focus on issues beyond marriage, from employment discrimination to health care disparities faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.
Griffin will remain on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the organization he co-founded in 2009 to organize, publicize, and fund the Prop. 8 lawsuit. Bruce Cohen, a fellow AFER board member and an Academy Award-winning producer whose films include American Beauty and Milk, applauded the announcement, saying that Griffin’s new position “makes a very strong statement on behalf of HRC that they chose him to lead.”
In my view, this appears to be a solid pick for the Human Rights Campaign. We at Truth Wins Out wish Griffin luck in his new job, and also wish the current Executive Director, Joe Solmonese, a smooth transition into his new life outside HRC.
Here are people who have praised the appointment:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
“I congratulate Chad Griffin on his appointment as the new President of HRC. I’m confident Chad will continue to provide the strong leadership that HRC has become known for here in Washington. I’m proud to count myself as a strong supporter of issues important to the LGBT community and look forward to working with Chad and HRC to advance these issues.”
Judy Shepard, President, Matthew Shepard Foundation:
“I couldn’t be happier for HRC and my good friend, Chad Griffin. He’s just brilliant. The ways in which he connects with people on issues of equality continue to amaze me. He’s going to be a great leader for HRC, and the equality movement and I look forward to working with him.”
Kate Kendall, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights:
“Chad Griffin is a visionary and a force of nature. Chad sees around corners and finds ways to surmount obstacles and bring together disparate voices. The LGBT movement will benefit greatly from his unflagging confidence in the rightness of our cause and his career spent fighting for equality and fairness on a wide range of progressive causes.”
Evan Wolfson, Founder & President, Freedom to Marry:
“This is a terrific choice for HRC and our movement. I admire people who raise the bar and bring creativity, smarts, and, of course, more people into the work of getting important things done. As we’ve worked together to win the freedom to marry, I have seen Chad do all of that with fresh energy and exceptional talent, and Freedom to Marry and I look forward to partnering even closer as he takes the helm of HRC.”
Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus, NAACP:
“Chad Griffin is a great choice – he is a major leader in the fight for equality. HRC has staged a coup!”
Shannon Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
“Chad Griffin is an inspired choice. In addition to his legendary genius and relentlessness, Chad has a deep understanding of how social and political change happen and an unflinching commitment to full equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. As someone who grew up in the South, he will bring a fierce commitment to ensuring that change comes to all parts of our country and that every young person can grow up with unqualified love, acceptance, and support. Chad is exactly the type of creative new leader that we will need to make the most of the unprecedented opportunities opening up for our community in the years ahead.”