Chad Griffin will replace outgoing Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese, the group announced on Friday.

As the nation's largest and most visible gay rights advocate, HRC has played a vital part in lobbying lawmakers on behalf of the gay community.

The 38-year-old Griffin currently helms the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group formed specifically to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban. Last month, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling declaring the amendment in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Solmonese announced the HRC board's selection on the group's blog.

“Chad Griffin has the leadership qualities critical to propel our movement for equality forward and I am so proud that he will succeed me this June leading HRC,” he said.

Griffin said as HRC president he would “work with a great sense of urgency because there are real life consequences to inaction.”

“I'm honored by the board's confidence in my ability to lead HRC,” Griffin said in a statement. “While there's no doubt that we've made tremendous progress on the road to equality, we must not forget that millions of LGBT Americans still lack basic legal protections and suffer the consequences of discrimination every day. Today's generation of young people, and each generation hereafter, must grow up with the full and equal protection of our laws, and finally be free to participate in the American dream.”

AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer applauded HRC's move: “I cannot think of a better, more accomplished person to lead HRC and their millions of supporters. Chad will remain on AFER's board as we continue to pursue our goal of full federal marriage equality.”

HRC has annual revenues of roughly $40 million and over a million members.