Gay rights leader lets Ark. roots take the reins

Associated Press Modified: July 6, 2012 at 11:46 am •  Published: July 6, 2012

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (AP) — Chad Griffin could have spent his first official day heading the country's largest and most influential gay rights group anywhere.

He could have been in Washington, where he cut his teeth working for President Bill Clinton, or in California, where he spearheaded a legal challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Instead, he came back to his hometown in Arkansas to show that he stands with young gay people in small towns across the country.

The Human Rights Campaign says Griffin is the first Southerner to head the Washington-based group.

He has a knack for translating the fight for gay rights into language familiar to people in the Bible Belt. And he sometimes borrows phrases from the pulpit to advocate equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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