It’s been two months since Chad Griffin began his job as president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group in the US with more than one million members and supporters.
In an interview with Michelangelo Signorile posted Monday (20 August), Griffin responded to several criticisms including the tense relationship HRC continues to have with other LGBT groups, HRC’s perceived lack of visibility in the Chick-fil-A controversy, and Griffin’s lack of contact with the LGBT media so far.
On Chick-fil-A: ‘It’s something, actually, we have spent a significant amount of time on. It’s something we communicated with our more than a million members on. … So my view, as it relates to Chick-fil-A, and what I think is really important – and I’m not sure we were fully successful in this, and I think we could do more on this subject – it’s not just [Chick-fil-A president Don Cathy’s] views on marriage equality. But he, in particular, takes his customers’ money and in turn supports organizations, including those that advertise to parents that they can convert their LGBT children into straight youth. And that has horrendous consequences and, quite frankly, tragic consequences. I certainly spent a significant amount of time, as did the staff, on Chick-fil-A, and you make the point that perhaps I could have, should have, spent more time on it.’
On strained relations with other LGBT groups: ‘There’s no question we can always do better when it comes to partnerships. It’s something I’ve committed myself to. What we as a movement have to be able to do better is our ability to work together and coordinate. [HRC] can always do better and we can always improve.’
On lack of availability to LGBT media: ‘I’m only two months on the job. I will be more available. I’m thrilled to be here (with Signorile) today and talking to you today and I intend to do this a lot more.’
Prior to taking over at HRC, Griffin founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights which sponsored the federal lawsuit that resulted in the courts overturning Prop. 8, a voter-approved initiative which banned gay marriage in the state of California.