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AFER’s Chad Griffin Selected as the Next President of the Human Rights Campaign

Nation’s Largest LGBT Rights Group Selects Visionary Leader of Prop. 8 Lawsuit – a bold choice.

This is a big WOW. Much of the talk about who would succeed Joe Solmonese as head of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has been about whether the organization would select someone who wasn’t the stereotypical representation of “LGBT” in America, i.e, a gay white man. I do think that’s an obvious consideration, but honestly, what HRC needs is a shot of activism in the arm, a pick that would not signal business inside the Beltway as usual, a choice that would reflect the need to be media savvy and deeply connected to politics from the grassroots to the pols on the Hill.

The activism behind Chad Griffin’s American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) with its legal work to turn back California’s Prop 8 is audacious. The decision to pick Chad Griffin is interesting and a proactive choice for HRC. From HRC’s release:

Chad H. Griffin was appointed today as the next president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, by the organization’s Board of Directors. Griffin, a national communications and policy strategist, is widely credited for being the mastermind behind the federal lawsuit to overturn California’s Proposition 8, which has now been ruled unconstitutional by two federal courts.

Griffin’s appointment follows an extensive six month search by the board that included the consideration of over one hundred diverse and extremely well-qualified candidates from the worlds of business, academia and activism. Griffin will assume his new responsibilities on June 11, 2012. Current HRC president Joe Solmonese will continue to lead the organization until that time.

The founding partner of strategic communications and campaign firm, Griffin|Schein, Griffin has taken on entrenched, well-financed interests like Big Tobacco, Big Oil and the far right, and shaped national policy debates around equal rights, clean energy, universal health care, stem cell research, and early childhood education. He has also led groundbreaking ballot initiative campaigns including the largest ballot initiative ever recorded, Proposition 87: California’s Clean Alternative Energy Initiative; the Proposition 10 campaign, which generates $600 million a year for early childhood education; and Proposition 71, which secured billions of dollars for stem cell research despite the Bush Administration ban.

Griffin is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of the Prop. 8 lawsuit. He is personally responsible for recruiting the legal dream team of Theodore Olson and David Boies to successfully argue the case. Griffin will remain on the board of directors of AFER. This is what Olsen and Boies had to say: [cont’d.]

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