Joe Solmonese, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights group, is
leaving his post.
The HRC announced on Saturday that
Solmonese has informed the board of directors that he will not renew
his contract, which expires on March 31, 2012.
“Joe Solmonese is an outstanding
leader,” said Anne Fay, who co-chairs the HRC Foundation Board.
“While we will miss his extraordinary leadership, we enter this
next phase, thanks to Joe, in the best place the organization has
ever been. Not only has our community secured historic victories,
but our membership is larger and more active than at any time in our
history, and our financial health is secure even in these difficult
Solmonese came on board in 2005. He
was widely criticized in 2007 for his decision to back a version of
the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a workplace
non-discrimination measure, that excluded gender identity
The group also achieved major successes
under his tenure, including passage of the Matthew Shepard and James
Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and last year's historic repeal
of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” The policy is set to expire on
“Leading HRC has been an inspiring
experience and a complete privilege,” Solmonese said. “I could
not be more proud of our staff, our volunteer leadership and of the
extraordinary progress we've made together as a community.”
Solmonese did not say what he planned
to do next.