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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for March, 2012

HRC Names New President

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2012

The Human Rights Campaign has announced that Chad Griffin, a founding member of the California-based LGBT group that is challenging Proposition 8 in Federal Court, has been selected to become the HRC’s president.  He will succeed Joe Solmonese when his contract expires March 31.

Despite Griffin’s extensive ties with Democratic and progressive causes — he is an enthusiastic supporter of President Barack Obama’s political campaign, as well as  causes encompassing equal rights, clean energy, universal health care, stem cell research and early childhood education — Griffin has also sought support from people on all sides of the political spectrum. As a founding board member of Americans for Equal Rights, Griffin is credited for recruiting Ted Olson and David Boies as the dream-team attorneys in AFER’s fight against  Prop 8. Griffin will remain on AFER’s board of directors.

It’s worth noting that when that lawsuit was first announced, many other LGBT organizations openly questioned whether AFER was taking too bold a risk. Some tried to derail it, others tried to hijack it, but AFER remained the sole litigant in the challenge that is now before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Where Solmonese showed timidity and a reluctance to challenge political leaders, Griffin has a rather different track record. Is Griffin big enough to lead the HRC to becoming a genuine advocacy group for its constituents — you know, LGBT people and not elected political leaders? HRC is larger than just a president. There’s an entire board of entrenched establishment figures whose access to power and celebrity is at least as important to them as the community’s goals, even when there is conflict between the two. Griffin’s appointment looks promising.

Update: Griffin was also an Executive Producer of Outrage, a documentary about the politics of “outing.” Again, another sign that he’s not one to defer to power.