Marriage Equality USA, the grassroots organization working to secure civil marriage equality, announced Wednesday that Brian Silva, who helped lead efforts in New York, will assume the role of executive director next month.
Silva became executive director of Marriage Equality New York last year after legislation passed the state legislature, putting a national focus on the organization's work. He served as deputy executive director of MENY during the campaign to pass the marriage equality bill, and prior to that, coordinated the group's participation in lobby days in the state capital, the 2009 National Equality March in Washington D.C., and chaired the NYC Wedding March across the Brooklyn Bridge in 2010.
"2012 is a historic year for marriage equality, with the issue on the ballot in four states this November and legal challenges to DOMA and Prop. 8 moving forward to the Supreme Court," said Silva in a news release from the organization. "This is an incredibly exciting time for our movement, and I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves immediately as MEUSA expands grassroots efforts across the country to win equal marriage rights nationwide."
Silva will become the first full-time executive director of the organization since 2007. The board of directors has overseen the group for the past five years, but after MEUSA consolidated with MENY earlier this year, the board identified the need for an executive director.
"The strength of Marriage Equality [USA] has always been its volunteer staff, chapter leaders and countless individuals," said MEUSA board co-president Cathy Marino-Thomas. "MEUSA needed an executive director with proven skills to harness that energy to empower and expand the national and local initiatives that have made us such a critical partner in this movement - we know we have found that in Brian Silva, and we look forward to many more successful campaigns to come under his leadership."
Silva's appointment is effective August 1.