News (USA)

Chad Griffin named president of Human Rights Campaign

WASHINGTON — The founder and president of a high-profile California-based LGBT rights group has been named as the new president of the Human Rights Campaign.

HRC announced Friday that Chad Griffin, board president of the American Foundation of Equal Rights, will succeed Joe Solmonese as president when his contract expires March 31.

Chad Griffin. (Photo by Matt Baume.)

Griffin gained notoriety after he founded AFER in 2009 and secured Ted Olson and David Boies as attorneys in litigation against Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Last month, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban was unconstitutional as a result of this lawsuit.

But Griffin has had an extensive career fighting for progressive causes. According to his bio on AFER’s website, Griffin is founding partner of political and communications strategy firm Griffin-Schake, and taken on the tobacco and oil industry while pushing forward with issues such as equal rights, clean energy, universal health care, stem cell research and early childhood education.

His bio states he was responsible for spearheading Proposition 87, California’s Clean Alternative Energy Initiative; Proposition 10, which provides $600 million each year to early childhood education; and Proposition 71, which enables billions of dollars to flow to stem cell research.

The Los Angeles-based activist has roots both in Hollywood and Washington. During the Clinton administration, Griffin became the youngest staffer ever to serve in the White House. He was also an executive producer of the 2009 film “Outrage,” which discusses the hypocrisy of closeted individuals in power who promote anti-gay policies.

Mark Glaze, a principal of the Raben Group, which works on LGBT issues, said Griffin is “a great choice” for the role.

“He’s smart, he’s strategic, he has the kind of sizzle that you’d want in a movement,” Glaze said. “His work on AFER has been a model of effective advocacy, which isn’t easy in the work in his field.”

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