Metro Weekly

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin to exit organization in 2019

Griffin will stay in place until HRC's Board of Directors names his replacement sometime next year

Chad Griffin – Photo: HRC

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, has announced he will depart the organization in 2019, after a seven-year stint. 

Under Griffin’s leadership, HRC has doubled its membership, staff, and budget as it takes on a new role as one of the most outspoken critics of the Trump administration. Over the past seven years, HRC has been involved with efforts to legalize marriage equality, has lobbied on behalf of the Equality Act, and established new programs focusing on outreach to LGBTQ communities throughout the American South and around the globe.

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this incredible organization at such an important moment in the history of our movement — and our nation,” Griffin said in a statement. “The true strength of the Human Rights Campaign is in its fearless army of staff and volunteers, who are committed to ensuring full equality reaches every LGBTQ person across America, and around the world.”

HRC’s Board of Directors will launch a search for the organization’s next president, and Griffin will remain in place until a replacement is named in order to ensure a seamless transition.

Following the victories of President Trump and hundreds of anti-LGBTQ government officials throughout the country, HRC launched “HRC Rising,” a $26 million campaign aimed at mobilizing so-called “Equality Voters” — those whose vote for a candidate is influenced by their positions on LGBTQ issues — to elect LGBTQ-friendly candidates to public office.

As part of that campaign, HRC endorsed more than 480 candidates, and deployed hundreds of staffers across the nation to marshal volunteers and assist endorsed candidates’ campaigns with get-out-the-vote operations in 70 targeted House, Senate, and statewide races.

It also invested millions in targeted advertising, mail, and direct communications, as well as voter registration efforts. As the person overseeing that campaign, Griffin traveled around the country, campaigning for 50 different candidates across 23 states.

“For decades, this organization has shown the world that love conquers hate,” Griffin said. “But this year, in this election, with the future of our democracy on the ballot and the equality of future generations on the line, we proved that votes conquer hate, too.”

Members of HRC’s Board of Directors and the Board Chairs of its educational arm, the HRC Foundation, both praised Griffin’s contributions to the organization. HRC Foundation Board Chairs Charlie Frew and Deb Taft praised Griffin for expanding key programs aimed at expanding LGBTQ equality in schools, workplaces, and communities around the nation.

“For seven years, Chad Griffin has led the Human Rights Campaign through an incredibly crucial period in our history while building our political influence and momentum for LGBTQ equality,” Board Chairs Vanessa Benavides and John Ruffier said in a joint statement. “Thanks to Chad, his leadership team and incredibly talented staff, HRC has never been stronger or better positioned to make progress than it is today.”

“Every single person across the country deserves an equal opportunity to succeed in life, without having to overcome roadblocks put in place by politicians advancing a discriminatory agenda,” Griffin said. “Even as I step down from my role in this remarkable organization, I remain committed to HRC’s mission and will continue to fight for the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people — and all Americans — as I embark on this next chapter.

“So now is the time to fight harder and dig deeper,” he added. “Because there are still more trails to be blazed. There is still more history to be made and more battles to be won. The LGBTQ community’s brightest days and our grandest victories are still ahead of us.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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