American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) founding board member Chad Griffin will be the new president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lobbying group and foundation. Griffin replaces outgoing president Joe Solmonese, who has led the organization since 2005. Solmonese was recently named a co-chair of the Obama reelection campaign.
At AFER, Griffin hired the Republican attorney Theodore Olson and Democratic attorney David Boies to spearhead Perry v. Brown, the California lawsuit seeking to overturn Proposition 8, of which AFER is the sole sponsor. In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found Proposition 8 unconstitutional, echoing a lower court’s 2010 ruling. (The case will likely be appealed further.)
“I cannot think of anyone better to take the helm of the Human Rights Campaign than my dear friend and colleague Chad Griffin,” Olson said in a statement. “There is no one more passionate, more resourceful or more effective than Chad. His brilliant and visionary leadership makes me confident that one day, very soon, every American will be treated equally under the law. HRC is extraordinarily lucky to have him.”
In its search for a new executive, the HRC board interviewed “over one hundred diverse and extremely well-qualified candidates from the worlds of business, academia and activism.” Yet one can’t help noticing that, like Solmonese, Griffin is a white man in his late-thirties/early forties at the time of his appointment.
Commenters on leading gay blogs reacted positively to Griffin’s appointment, however, noting his success in shepherding Perry v. Brown through the legal process and the courts of public opinion. Griffin will assume his new responsibilities on June 11, 2012.