HRC president meets with local major donors in Brentwood


(From left) Thom Meek, HRC President Joe Solmonese and Michael Burcham.
Photo by Michael Vine

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese visited Brentwood, Tenn., on Wednesday, July 8, to speak at a soirée for major donors hosted by local HRC members Michael Burcham and Thom Meek.

About 50 people attended the event where Solmonese spoke about numerous topics including the favorable tone the Obama administration maintains regarding GLBT rights, HRC’s lobbying efforts in the Tennessee congressional delegation and HRC’s success in the economic downturn.

He said HRC has been able to create new programs each year, such as the Healthcare Equality Index, and continually expand because of the efficiency of the HRC’s large oversight committee.

“We’re always looking for ways to ensure a majority of our money goes directly into programmatic work,” Solmonese said.

Locally, Solmonese said HRC is tryting to mobilize its membership to aid the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) in its efforts to push Nashville’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The ordinance will be filed on Tuesday, July 14 and have its first reading on July 21. See related story.

About 50 major donors to HRC gathered at the residence of Burcham and Meek.
Photo by Michael Vine

Solmonese said federal laws favoring the GLBT community will be far more helpful and have greater impact in places like Tennessee than in areas with a larger, more visible, and more outspoken GLBT population.

 “If you look at everything we do, almost every program is designed at eliminating the individual economic disparity [between GLBT people and heterosexuals]," Solmonese said. "It is closing the economic gap that exists in the absence of marriage. The Human Rights Campaign is all about economic empowerment for GLBT people.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.