Joe Solmonese is finally out as the president of HRC and will now officially shill for the Obama campaign (though many think that shilling for the Obama campaign has actually been HRC’s main focus over the last few years). The Washington Blade recently interviewed the new president, Chad Griffin, who takes over in June and I have to admit that I like the things I’m hearing about his motivation and commitment to achieving full equality. “The fact that every single night, where we all have very lucky lives and live in places where we’re accepted, there are thousands, if not millions, of kids who go to bed every night staring at the ceiling — something that so many of us all did — not being able to go to sleep out of fear of waking up the next day and facing that next day,” Griffin said. He also seems to share my sense of urgency and impatience with the pace of progress. “If you were to talk to anyone who knows me, I think that they would describe first and foremost my lack of patience and how self-critical I am when I can’t achieve what we need to achieve.”
The new president also made clear he is well aware of the criticisms that HRC has been way too cozy with the Obama administration and too afraid to criticize Democrats even when they espouse anti-gay views. Griffin alluded to his previous work as an activist against Prop 8 (AFER) and a political strategist to show that he’s “not one who’s shy about disagreeing with friends and colleagues” when he thinks they are wrong. And Griffin also shares my belief that we should be pressuring President Obama to support full marriage equality. “I fundamentally believe that not only the president but our members of Congress and all of our leaders should support marriage equality, and we should do everything in our power to get them to that position,” Griffin said.
He also feels passing ENDA is a top priority, and in the interim, the president should immediately sign the executive order requiring federal contractors to have LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies (the order has already been approved by the Justice and Labor Departments but is being delayed because Obama refuses to sign it. – I mean, really, why should the equal rights and the workplace protections of millions be of concern to Obama? It’s an election year, after all). Chad Griffin takes over HRC in June, and not a moment too soon. “So much has been accomplished over the past several years, but we’re not finished. And that kid is still waking up staring at the ceiling because he or she lives in a country where their government directly and intentionally discriminates against them,” Griffin concluded.