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Prop 8 lawsuit backer Chad Griffin named Human Rights Campaign President

Prop 8 trial

By Adam Bink

Remarkable news this morning: Chad Griffin, who originally spearheaded the Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown) lawsuit in 2009 as founder and president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), has been named successor to Joe Solmonese as head of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). For those of us who have followed the work of AFER and the trial from the beginning, it is a promising choice that may herald a new era for HRC.

From the beginning, AFER took on what was deemed to be conventional wisdom with respect to a legal strategy (e.g., five votes don’t exist to strike down Prop 8 and/or find a right to same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution), and for that received a great deal of criticism to the point of attempted intervention from other legal organizations. It was a bold and risky move (and one that has not necessarily played out yet as it is not clear what the Supreme Court will do) but, to some, a stark contrast to what many see as a cautious and less aggressive vision at HRC. That aside, from a public relations standpoint, AFER has done a tremendous job in framing the Prop 8 trial to the public with such projects as the “8” play readings that are ongoing (one of which can be seen live via webcast tomorrow night) and continued updates on the trial. And, to add to this point and in the interest of full disclosure, have helped support the work we do here at through donation of two tickets to a fundraising raffle for tomorrow night’s reading in Los Angeles, as well as using Ed and Derence, whom we highlighted here at, as a point and example during oral arguments on why the previous stay on Judge Walker’s ruling should be lifted. Our work goes hand in hand as they do excellent work on the inside of the courtroom and we help on the outside.

Please join me in offering congratulations and good luck to Chad!


  • 1. Alan_Eckert  |  March 2, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I heard this on NPR this morning and said, "Oh that's great!" My carpool riders had no idea what I was talking about, so I got to have another Prop 8 conversation =)

  • 2. reddecatur  |  March 2, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Congrats to Mr Griffin. As a HRC member I'm extremely excited about this move and look foward for good things to come.

  • 3. Sagesse  |  March 2, 2012 at 9:48 am


  • 4. Jamie  |  March 2, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I LOL's at the words "cautious and less aggressive" AKA give money to politicians that vote against t gay rights and give 100% scores to businesses that support anti-gay laws. Let's be honest with ourselves.

    Congratulations to Chad Griffin. I do agree that it will herald a new era for the HRC, hopefully one where they are relevant again.

    On a side note, is AFER going to be folded under HRC, is Chad Griffin going to be leading both separately, or are they now looking for a new leader?

  • 5. era  |  March 2, 2012 at 10:36 am

    White Cis Man named HRC president. What a shocker.

  • 6. AnonyGrl  |  March 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

    And? What difference does any of that make? What matters in this is not what is in his pants, but what is in his head, and his heart.

  • 7. John  |  March 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I do not support HRC after finding out how much the executives make and how much money that is spent toward "administrative costs".

  • 8. MightyAcorn  |  March 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Apparently all the trolls who can't spell were busy implementing their highly effective political strategy of being snarky on comment threads, so they turned the job down. Let me say how sad we are here about that development. Rilly.

  • 9. Alan_Eckert  |  March 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Look at what I just found. David Blankenhorn is trying to walk back his statements during the Prop 8 trial on this web site:
    (in the comments section)

    Barry: What happened is, when I was on the stand, Boise spoke a sentence to me, and asked, did I agree with that sentence, and I answered that I wrote those very words, and that yes, I did and do agree with them. Of course he did not care to explore, at that time, the context in which I wrote those words, or what, in that section of my book, I was actually trying to say. He just wanted a punch line, a “gotcha” experience, and while he did not (in my of course biased view) achieve that goal during his actual examination, he did achieved it retroactively, after the fact, in the sense of creating a PR line that can be endlessly repeated in press releases and by Hollywood actors.

    As I think you know, a major theme of my book is that there are good arguments on both sides of this issue. (I think I am pretty much a party of one in holding this view.) That’s why he could do what he did. Any argument that admits of complexity can be picked apart by any lawyer (or by any high school debater) in exactly this way, as long as it doesn’t matter to anyone what was actually being said.

    I though that this commenter was pretty oblivious and didn't bother to check:

    2) The odd thing is, as I recall — and maybe I’m misremembering — David didn’t actually speak those words during the trial. The attorney read the words aloud from one of David’s past writings, and asked David to verify that those were his words and he still believed them.

  • 10. Jamie  |  March 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    David Blankenhorn: “In so far as we are a nation founded on this principle, we would be more American on the day that we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before…”

  • 11. Rick  |  March 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Same here. I was shocked to see how much money they were paying to executives. I sometimes wondered if they were more concerned about preserving their positions than achieving equality. I'm hoping this signifies real change for HRC.

  • 12. Mark  |  March 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    NOM has finally met it's match…

  • 13. DaveP  |  March 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I'll try to avoid saying negative things about HRCs past performance, and I'll just say that I am very glad to hear about this development and I really hope that this will lead to great things from HRC in the future.

    There. I did it.

  • 14. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I haven't been a supporter of HRC in over 5 years now.
    To much wasted monies, and WAY to much attitude. The organization as it was run single handedly turned away a LOT of supporters with their crappy ways.
    I hope the new leadership can start to right some of these passed wrongs.

  • 15. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Would you have felt better if they had appointed a non white person?
    Maybe a purple alien from Twillow perhaps?
    What in the world does race or gender have to do with anything?

  • 16. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    You are a better man than I Dave :-)

  • 17. Kate  |  March 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Anyone know what "Cis" is supposed to be?

  • 18. Leo  |  March 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    The opposite of "Trans"

  • 19. Str8Grandmother  |  March 3, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Mark, it never occurred to me but I HOPE you are right. I have long lamented that we don't seem to have a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to lead this fight. With his new position and all the goodwill he has personally, maybe Chad Griffin WILL BE that great Leader to make the final push for complete Civil Equality for sexual minorities. It remains to be seen if he will be out in front carrying a protest sign, Leading a protest, not just going to fancy Hollywood dinners with A List gays. Maybe Chad Griffin will be a Leader for the B & C & D List gays.

  • 20. Bob  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    yes me too,,, a match for NOM,,,,, just strike and they're ready to go up in flames!!!!!!!!! things are so tender and ripe for that to happen

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