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Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin to Depart in 2019

WASHINGTON — Chad Griffin, who has been president of the Human Rights Campaign for the past seven years, will leave the organization in 2019.

He will stay with the Human Rights Campaign until they find a successor. That process could take several months, but the aim is to have a new leader in place before the 2020 presidential election gets into full swing.

HRC invested heavily in this year’s midterm elections, with the goal of mobilizing the LGBTQ community and their allies as a potent voting bloc. With a budget of about $26 million, the organization focused in particular on Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, where all six Democrats won and along with seven members of the House who back the organization’s agenda.

Griffin himself traveled to 47 cities across 23 states, and campaigned for 50 candidates. He has not said what he plans to do next, but he has strong ties to Democratic party leaders and a number of candidates mentioned as presidential contenders.

In a statement, Griffin said, “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. 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 said that during Griffin’s tenure, its membership doubled from 1.5 million to more than 3 million.

During his tenure, HRC also launched a campaign to expand LGBTQ equality across southern states, including Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, and launched an advocacy program to expand its movement globally.

Human Rights Campaign also co-chaired the Respect for Marriage Coalition, which organized around the landmark cases brought to the Supreme Court in 2013 and 2015. Before he joined HRC, Griffin co-founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which was set up to bring a legal challenge against California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state.

He and Kristina Schake also ran a Los Angeles-based political and public affairs that represented high profile figures such as Rob Reiner and worked on campaigns around early childhood education, renewable energy and land conservation. When he was just 19, Griffin worked in the White House press office during Bill Clinton’s administration.

The two board chairs of HRC, Vanessa Benavides and John Ruffier, said in a joint statement, “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.”

Hillary Clinton sent a tweet about Griffin, writing that “even in 1992, when I first met him, it was clear [he] would do a lot of good in the world. Little did I know! Grateful for his leadership at HRC in fighting against discrimination and for marriage equality, and mobilizing millions to build a more just, equal America.”

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