Steven Goldstein on Wednesday announced he's leaving the New Jersey gay advocacy group he founded in 2004.

In a lengthy email to supporters, Goldstein said he will leave his post as chairman of Garden State Equality to take a job at Rutgers-Newark, where he has been named associate chancellor for external relations.

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

The group's managing director for advocacy, Troy Stevenson, will take over as chairman on January 20. Goldstein will remain a member of the group's executive board.

“This is hardly the end of an era,” Goldstein wrote. “Working by my side, Troy is the person I someday wanted to take my place, which you bet he can. So many of you know and love him. He is an extraordinary field operative, political talent and all-around human being.”

Garden State Equality is New Jersey's largest civil rights group with nearly 125,000 members. It has helped pass 213 laws in New Jersey at the sate and local levels, according to The Star-Ledger. However, passage of a marriage equality law continues to elude the group. After multiple starts, New Jersey lawmakers approved a marriage bill last year only to have Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, veto the legislation.

The group has called on lawmakers to override the governor's veto.

“The key to overriding the Governor's veto is staying focused,” Goldstein said in his farewell email.