HRC President to Step DownBreaking News, Online Only, Top Highlights Saturday, August 27th, 2011
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, will announce his retirement from the organization in a press release on Saturday, August 27, 2011. Solmonese has served as president of the organization since 2005. Pam’s House Blend first reported the news late on Friday evening.
While the subject of the Pam’s House Blend report is correct, there are details that are not correct. First, it was reported that a permanent replacement has been selected, which is absolutely not true. Sources tell San Diego LGBT Weekly that an “interim” director will be appointed so a thorough national search can be conducted. The national search is expected to be lead by current members of the Board of Directors. HRC has been through this process before when its most famous leader Elizabeth Birch announced her retirement in 2003.
Solmonese’s tenure has had significant high points, most recently the passage of hate crime legislation and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. However, he has also had to deal with significant criticism for his handling of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. While Solmonese had promised he would support the inclusion of gender identity to protect the transgender community, at the last minute Congressman Barney Frank and Solmonese tried to pass legislation that did not include transgender protections. It created a firestorm within the LGBT community.
Sources also suggest that the press release date was moved up to accommodate the questions that will be asked of Solmonese when he addresses the HRC Cleveland Dinner this evening. Many current and former members of the HRC Board of Directors were caught off guard by the leak to Pam’s House Blend, which suggests that Solmonese’s decision to step down is a surprise.
Given Solmonese’s salary level, it is unlikely that he will be joining the Obama administration as many have suggested on blogs, as well as Facebook.
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