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Joe Solmonese Leaving HRC, Report Says

Joe Solmonese Leaving HRC, Report Says

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Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, is planning to step down, according to a report from Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend.

The Advocate could not confirm the report, which says Solmonese will leave on Tuesday and that a replacement has already been selected. Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly in Washington, D.C. reports that no replacement had been named. He suggests the consultant that Spauling referred to as a replacement might be Cathy Woolard, but The Advocate could not confirm that any interim or permanent replacement is already in the works. A replacement for someone of Solmonese's stature would likely include an extended search process, and Solmonese would likely provide significant notice before leaving, allowing plenty of time to pick an interim or permanent successor.

Spaulding reports that the transition at the top signals "the beginning of a larger staff shake-up in the HRC," just as the pivotal 2012 election is ramping up. Although HRC has already endorsed President Obama in his reelection effort, the group has played at the forefront of criticism of the records of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, two antigay Republican candidates for president.

It also has organizers on the ground in North Carolina and formed a political action committee in Minnesota -- two states where marriage bans could be on the ballot in 2012. In Maine, and perhaps Oregon, gay rights activists could put marriage equality on the ballot. And in Maryland, the state's governor has pledged to fight for passage of a marriage equality bill in the same way that Andrew Cuomo of New York led to success, notably calling all of the gay rights organizations together into a coordinated effort.

Solmonese has led HRC since 2005.

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