A lesbian Republican activist who fought for acceptance of marriage equality within her party will become the new executive director of the National Log Cabin Republicans, the organization announced Tuesday.
Jerri Ann Henry, a communications strategist and GOP consultant, will take the helm of Log Cabin in the aftermath of the departure of Gregory Angelo, who announced in the weeks before the election he’d step down from the LGBT Republican group.
“Log Cabin Republicans have a rich history of grassroots activism and a legacy of great leaders, and there is no other organization better suited to offer solutions to today’s challenging political environment than us,” Henry said in a statement. “I’m humbled to step into this leadership role, and I don’t take it lightly — I believe my experience with the Republican Party and LGBTQ community, combined with this incredible team will allow us to build a strong, effective movement and grow the Republican Party of the future.”
Henry, who is the first woman to lead Log Cabin, will assume head of the organization as a new chapter begins in Washington with Democrats in control of the U.S. House after victories on Election Day, but President Trump still in the White House.
Prior to her new position, Henry was head of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, a group that sought to encourage support for marriage equality within the Republican Party leading up the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision for marriage equality nationwide. Henry also headed the Platform Reform campaign that sought to eliminate opposition to same-sex marriage in the 2016 Republican Party platform.
“We believe it’s not consistent with Republican values,” Henry told the Washington Blade in 2015. “We’re pro-limited government, we’re very pro-family. Having more families is a big deal in our community and makes for a more stable society. We would like to replace the hateful language with inclusive language that reinforces our commitment to the values of limited government, individual freedom and family, but is inclusive of all those views.”
Henry’s efforts, however, were ultimately unsuccessful. Not only did the Republican platform affirm opposition to same-sex marriage and support for a constitutional amendment reversing that decision, the document was declared by Log Cabin itself as the most anti-LGBT ever.
According to Log Cabin, Henry has worked in the last decade in D.C. on digital engagement tools for businesses and non-profits organizations. She has been recognized as a Rising Star by Campaigns & Elections and a Future 40 Leader by Maverick PAC.
Henry has also served in leadership roles with Maverick PAC, Young Republicans of Alexandria, Women’s Public Leadership Network (WPLN), the National Federation of Republican Women and the Texas State Society. A native of Dallas, Texas and a graduate of Texas A&M University, Henry resides with her spouse and their dog live in Alexandria, Va.
Angelo praised the selection of Henry as the new leader of Log Cabin in a statement, recognizing her past work in LGBT activism within the Republican Party.
“As someone who has known Jerri Ann Henry for years, I couldn’t be more pleased to see the Log Cabin Republicans and Liberty Education Forum Boards of Directors have chosen her to continue the proud legacy of both organizations into the future,” Angelo said.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National Gay Media Association.