Chad Griffin to Lead Nation's Largest Gay Rights Organization

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Family Equality Council

The Los Angeles-based political consultant, who fought to overturn Prop. 8, will take over as president of the Human Rights Campaign in June.

Los Angeles political strategist Chad Griffin, who has lead the fight to overturn California’s Proposition 8, has been named president of the country’s largest gay and lesbian civil rights organization.

Griffin’s selection by the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign, capped a nationwide search in which more than 100 candidates were considered. He will formally take the helm of the organization, which now has more than 1 million members, on June 11.

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Griffin, an Arkansas native, began his national political career on the communications staff of the Clinton White House. He subsequently founded the LA-based strategic communications and campaign management firm of Griffin/Schein, which has been particularly active in directing progressive initiative campaigns in the contentious California political climate.

Among the firm’s successes have been the most expensive ballot proposition campaign in U.S. history, Proposition 87, the Clean Alternative Energy Initiative; Proposition 10, which now annually generates $600 million a year for early childhood education and Proposition 71, which secured billions of dollars in state funding for stem cell research at a time when George W. Bush’s Administration had all but cut off federal support.

More recently, Griffin helped organize the federal lawsuit against the anti-marriage equality measure, Proposition 8, and personally recruited its high-powered, bipartisan legal team—Republican Theodore Olson and Democrat David Boies.

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In a statement Friday, Griffin said, “All over this country in big cities and small towns, there are families and young people who long to be accepted for who they are, and who want be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else. . .While there’s no doubt that we’ve made tremendous progress on the road to equality, we must not forget that millions of LGBT Americans still lack basic legal protections and suffer the consequences of discrimination every day.”

Human Rights Campaign co-chair Tim Downing and its foundation co-chair Sandra Hartness issued a joint statement saying, “We’re ecstatic to have someone of Chad’s caliber as our next president. His superior credentials and achievements, both as a visionary and strategist, make him uniquely qualified to lead this organization forward.”

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