This June, Chad Griffin stepped into the biggest position of his life as the new president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the country’s largest civil rights organization working for LGBT equality. He’s ready, however: for most of his career, Chad Griffin has been preparing for this fight. As he’s sworn in this year – a year with a crucial presidential campaign and potentially a U.S. Supreme Court case addressing Proposition 8 – Griffin finds himself perfectly poised to rally the country around his cause.
His peers describe him as independent, immensely qualified, driven, brilliant, and a powerful fundraiser. Most leaders in the LGBT community praise the HRC’s choice: Griffin will bring assertiveness and a broad focus to an organization that has been criticized both for aligning itself too closely with the Democratic agenda and for working too narrowly on issues that only affect gay communities, instead of wider issues of social justice.
Chad Griffin started his path early when at 19 he became the youngest White House staffer during the Clinton administration. After graduating from Georgetown University, he moved to California and threw himself into campaigning, fundraising, and organizing for numerous ballot initiatives and political candidates. When Griffin was involved, his side usually won. After Proposition 8 passed successfully despite months of aggressive campaigning, Griffin and producer Rob Reiner founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights, an organization dedicated to challenging the constitutionality of the proposition.
Today Chad Griffin has to look beyond the issue of same-sex marriage to a wide spectrum of LGBT issues. He faces the task of reaching into unlikely communities to seek support for his cause, and he carries more on his shoulders than ever before. But Chad Griffin is up to the task.