Equality Texas announced his resignation and the beginning of a nationwide search for Coleman’s replacement.
In the meantime, Deputy Executive Director Chuck Smith will serve as interim executive director. Smith has served as deputy executive director since 2005, and previously served as interim executive director from February to August 2010.
Coleman was not immediately available for comment.
Before joining Equality Texas, Coleman served as executive director of Lambda Legal’s South Central Region, based in Dallas. Coleman lives in Dallas and commuted to Austin during his time leading Equality Texas.
Coleman, Dallas Voice’s 2011 Person of the Year, helped push through two anti-bullying bills during his first and only session of the Legislature. Although the bills didn’t include LGBT-specific protections, Equality Texas has called them the first two pro-equality bills to pass in Texas since hate crimes legislation in 2001.
Read Equality Texas’ full statement on Coleman’s resignation below.
AUSTIN, Texas (August 17, 2012) – The boards of directors of Equality Texas and the Equality Texas Foundation have accepted the resignation of executive director Dennis Coleman effective August 17, 2012. The boards wish to thank Dennis for his service over the past two years, during which time Coleman was an instrumental member of our leadership team at the Capitol that worked successfully to pass anti-bullying and youth suicide prevention legislation in 2011.
Equality Texas advocates and lobbies for the elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. There is much work still to be done in Texas and our organizational efforts will continue unabated. For the remainder of the calendar year, we will continue to bring our civic engagement program, the Equality Project, to communities across the state educating participants about issues of importance and establishing ongoing relationships with their elected officials.
Simultaneously, Equality Texas is already actively engaged in work on our 2013 legislative agenda for the 83rd Legislative Session commencing on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. Our work in 2013 will focus on prohibiting discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and providing for equal recognition of family relationships, including families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender family members.
The boards of directors have named Chuck Smith as interim executive director. Smith has served as deputy executive director since 2005, and previously served as interim executive director from February to August, 2010. A nation-wide search will commence for a permanent executive director.
As a non-partisan organization with more than two decades of rich history, Equality Texas has established itself as a policy and advocacy authority at the Texas Capitol and across the state. Equality Texas has achieved bipartisan support while accomplishing a strong legislative agenda. Both Equality Texas and the Equality Texas Foundation work successfully at the local and state levels toward ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.