Elizabeth Birch



Elizabeth Birch (born 1956) is an American attorney and former corporate executive who chaired the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force from 1992-1994. She served as the Executive Director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT organization, from January 1995 until January 2004.
Birch began her LGBT political activity as a member of the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC), an LGBT political action committee based in a San Jose, California. She was co-chairwoman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force from 1992 to 1994.

Birch joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as Executive Director in January 1995. Over the next several years she dramatically increased its size in both membership and budget. Her marketing approach to political organization provoked criticism that HRC was setting an agenda through its influence on sources of funding to the exclusion of local initiatives. In 2003, the organization opened its national headquarters building in Washington, D.C. During her tenure, a major problem arose when the HRC endorsed New York Senator Al D'Amato for re-election in 1998 when he was opposed by Chuck Schumer. Birch was executive director of the HRC until January 2004 when she left to spend more time with her partner, Hilary Rosen, and their children. She joined the Howard Dean presidential campaign as a senior advisor. She then became a professional public speaker.

In 2000, Birch became the first leader of an LGBT organization to address a national political convention when she gave a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention. In 2004, Birch launched Birch & Company, a consulting firm, with offices in Washington, D.C. and New York. Birch runs Rosie O'Donnell's production company, KidRo Productions, Inc. and oversees O'Donnell's Foundation, The For All Kids Foundation. Birch also hosts a talk show on here!. Her guests have included Howard Dean, Pat Buchanan, Rosie O'Donnell and John Lewis. She had a relationship with Hilary Rosen, former chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America. They adopted twins, a boy and a girl, in Texas. The couple separated in 2006.

Black Tie Dinner, the largest LGBT fund-raising dinner in the Nation, presents an annual award in Birch's honor called the Elizabeth Birch Equality Award. The award is given annually to an individual, organization, or company that has made a significant contribution of national scope to the LGBT community. Elizabeth Birch was the first recipient of the award in 2004, and later returned to the dinner in 2009 to present the award to Judy Shepard. Black Tie Dinner is held annually in Dallas, Texas.