LGBT rights group Equality California has endorsed Gavin Newsom's gubernatorial bid.

Newsom, California's lieutenant governor since 2011, is best known for ordering the city of San Francisco to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in 2004 while he was serving as the city's mayor.

“Advancing civil rights and social justice for LGBTQ people is one of the defining priorities for Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom,” Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said in a statement. “He not only stood up boldly and publicly for marriage equality when it was not supported by a majority of Californians and when doing so presented significant political risks, but he has continued to be one of our community’s most dedicated champions in the years since, always on the forefront of the fight to advance LGBTQ civil rights both within California and nationally.”

Announced candidates include state Treasurer John Chiang, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin, attorney John Cox, Assemblyman Travis Allen, and former Congressman Doug Ose.

“Although a number of candidates have been strong allies of our community, Newsom’s in-depth understanding and prioritization of our community’s needs, his specific policy proposals to address them, and demonstrable and continuous record fighting for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice makes him the clear choice for the LGBTQ community for California Governor in 2018,” Zbur added.

As mayor, Newsom helped launch the nation's first universal healthcare initiative.

California will hold its primary on June 5. The two top vote-getters will be on the November ballot.