July 15, 2015 at 5:34 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Lambda Legal chief to step down in April 2016

Kevin Cathcart, gay news, Washington Blade

Kevin Cathcart (Photo courtesy Lambda Legal)

After a 24-year run that included victories in three historic gay rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the chief executive of Lambda Legal announced Wednesday he’ll step down when his contract ends at the end of April 2016.

Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, said in a statement he intends to forge ahead with its agenda in his remaining months with the organization. He’s served as head of the group since 1992.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished together,” Cathcart said, “and the work will not stop over the next 10 months or the decades ahead. Our community deserves our best efforts, addressing the discrimination, violence, and inequality we still face. I plan to keep us moving forward until my last day at Lambda Legal and I have every confidence in the organization’s staff and volunteer leadership – as well as in the next generation of leaders. As with any major transition, this is an opportunity for Lambda Legal to look toward the future and continue building the capacity of the organization.”

Over the course of his tenure, Cathcart oversaw legal victories before the Supreme Court in 1996 decision of Romer v. Evans, which struck down Colorado’s anti-gay Amendment 2; the 2003 decision of Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state bans on sodomy; and Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which last month established a nationwide right to same-sex marriage. Other accomplishments include the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project that seeks to improve care of LGBT youth; the National Marriage Project; and HIV advocacy.

Karen Dixon, board co-chair of Lambda Lambda, said the organization will select a new leader, but it’s impossible “to replace Kevin’s depth of experience and unique role in this movement.”

“One true measure of successful leadership is whether or not the organization you leave behind is strong and ready for the future,” Cathcart said. “Kevin has built an incredible organization, with brilliant and dedicated attorneys and staff and a solid infrastructure. We will miss him dearly – but Lambda Legal won’t stop fighting for justice and winning victories.”

Prior to joining Lambda, Cathcart served from 1984 to 1992 as the executive director of the New England-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. In total, Cathcart has been executive director of major LGBT organizations for 32 years.

According to a statement from Lambda Legal, the board co-chairs will conduct a search beginning this fall to replace Cathcart as executive director.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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