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Arkansas Upbringing Informs Chad Griffin's Gay Activism

ChadGriffinYou may or may not know this, but Chad Griffin is the first southerner to head up Human Rights Campaign, the Washington-based LGBT activist group. And according to AP reporter Jeannie Nuss' profile on Griffin and his current work, growing up in Arkansas and its religious culture had a deep impact on the new HRC president.

Arkansas helped shape Griffin into the leader he is today: a man uniquely qualified to fight a civil rights battle that will be difficult, even after President Barack Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage this year.

As the first Southerner to head the Washington-based group, Griffin has a knack for translating the fight for gay rights into language familiar to people in the Bible Belt. He sometimes borrows phrases from the pulpit — brothers and sisters, God's children — to advocate equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"This is nothing more than the golden rule," Griffin told community leaders during his visit last month. "Treat others as you wish to be treated."

The article goes on to mention that Griffin was born in a town called Hope, which boasts former President Bill Clinton and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as native sons, and that Griffin's work today is in large part influenced by the racial divides that exist in the state.

"If you remember those famous photos from the '60s and the civil rights movement, you didn't only see African-Americans marching down the street," Griffin told Nuss. "You saw them marching arm in arm with their white brothers and sisters."

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  1. I stopped donating a while ago, but I will cautiously donate again with the hope that it won't be wasted with the HRC now under your direction, Mr. Griffin.

    Some of your toughest critics will come from within the LGBTQ community but don't let that get to you.

    Good luck, sir. Your belief in The Golden Rule will sorely be tested in the months to come.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jul 6, 2012 3:06:17 PM

  2. Fundamentalist Jesus worship is dead. Tell your mommie and daddy, if necessary.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Jul 6, 2012 3:26:05 PM

  3. I'm with you, Jamal. To me it seemed the HRC had gotten off-track, more interested in being beltway insiders than activists, in "galas" over gay rights, a subsidiary of the Democratic party than an independent group. I have great hopes for Mr Griffin.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 6, 2012 3:31:37 PM

  4. "They call it the gravy train."

    HRC hasn't been responsible for a single gay rights advance. This is after decades of existence.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 6, 2012 4:06:22 PM

  5. Well, one thing is for certain. There is nothing people in the Heartland respond to more negatively than someone from the Northeast or the West Coast talking down to them, full of arrogance, disrespect, and condescension. Which is why every Presidential candidate from the Northeast since Kennedy has been defeated....and only one from the West Coast has been elected--Ronald Reagan--who actually derived more credibility from his Heartland roots than he did from his California associations.

    All the Democrats elected President except Obama have been Southerners--Johnson, Carter, Clinton.

    If you want to change America as a whole, you need to put people in front of them who can relate to them and who they will listen to and nobody in the Heartland will ever listen to a smart-a$$ from New York or LA.

    Posted by: Rick | Jul 6, 2012 4:36:31 PM

  6. Rick, you are 100% correct on this. And the Democrats who were fronted over the past 50 years for national office, especially president, prove the big shots in the Democratic party know this too. That's why I though John Kerry was the kiss of death but fascinatingly enough he won almost 50% of the vote. It will be interesting to see how a Mormon from Utah and ex Republican governor of Massachusetts does in November.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 6, 2012 8:16:31 PM

  7. Rick, look up southern strategy, that's why Dems have such a hard time running northerners. As for the HRC, after gay marriage arrives, what else is there to advocate for? I almost think they have been stalling on rights just to keep their lovely high rise and salaries in-tact.

    Posted by: ty | Jul 6, 2012 10:43:28 PM

  8. I remembered in the late 1990s, I was at a stop sign and someone asked me what the "=" signed meant. I told her, and she smiled and said, "oh, OK".

    When an organization is afraid to put "gay/lesbian" in their name and spends MEGA bucks in "champagne and caviar" parties instead of working to advocate and produce results, there is a MAJOR PROBLEM.

    After all, with all the money HRC pays, they can't be paying mega bucks for all those stupid bumper stickers. Right?

    Posted by: FunMe | Jul 7, 2012 5:34:06 AM

  9. Hello, my name is Bailey.
    I am currently working on a project that will help in the efforts of making people see the light on this subject. I need help though. Because I am just a child i dont understand the complexities of the world of legislature and business, but i do understand how the kids in my community are being treated differently. I cannot stand by anymore and watch the students that ive known all my life get bullied because they are gay. Please, if someone can help. I want to take action and i want to make a difference, but i need support.

    Posted by: Bailey | Jul 9, 2012 10:53:48 PM

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