TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gay rights activist Steven Goldstein is leaving his post at the helm of Garden State Equality, which he founded more than eight years ago.

Goldstein announced Wednesday that he has accepted a position as associate chancellor at Rutgers University-Newark, and will leave his post as chief executive officer of Garden State Equality on Jan. 20 after the group’s Inauguration Celebration Brunch.

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He will focus on government relations and communications at Rutgers-Newark, and will teach a course at the law school.

“No other opportunity could have pulled me away from the work I love so much,” Goldstein wrote.

With Goldstein as its leader, Garden State Equality used legal action and lobbying to push for gay marriage in New Jersey. Last year, the Legislature passed a law to legalize it, but it was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie.

He also recently expressed hope that Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a strong supporter of gay rights, will run for New Jersey governor. Booker has not yet made an official announcement.

Last month, Goldstein expressed hope that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in favor of gay marriage when it issues a decision on Proposition 8, the California ban on same-sex unions.

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“I’m absolutely stunned – stunned – that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to rule on marriage equality,” Goldstein said in December.

The group has also campaigned against bullying.

Goldstein will be replaced as chairman and CEO of the group by Troy Stevenson. Stevenson worked for Garden State Equality for three years before leaving last year to work on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in Pennsylvania.

Goldstein will still remain associated with Garden State Equality as founder and honorary chair. His post will be an ex officio position on the board and its executive committee.

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