Steven Goldstein's last day at Garden State Equality will be Jan. 20. He'll then become an associate chancellor for external relations at Rutgers, he said Wednesday.
Goldstein's departure from Garden State Equality comes as the group pushes—yet again—for the state to recognize same-sex marriage. The organization announced Wednesday that Troy Stevenson would become its new chair and CEO after Goldstein leaves.
Stevenson was managing director at the Montclair-based Garden State Equality for three years, but left last year to work on President Barack Obama's re-election campaign in Pennsylvania.
In a statement, Stevenson pledged the group would this year get the legislative votes needed to override Gov. Chris Christie's 2012 veto of a bill that would have legalized gay marriage.
Goldstein, 50, a former lawyer for Congress, political operative and investigative TV reporter, went to work for the gay legal advocacy group Lambda Legal in 2002 to organize the state's gay rights advocates.
Two years later, he founded Garden State Equality. On the group's behalf, he became a fixture in the State House, someone who got audiences with governors and had clout with lawmakers.
During his time in the movement in New Jersey, the state has extended rights to gay couples first through domestic partnerships, then through stronger civil unions. But so far it has not managed to win full marriage rights.
The organization has also campaigned for protections for transgender people and a law viewed as the nation's toughest against bullying in schools.
Goldstein said he's always loved academia and was inspired to work full-time in the field after teaching a class last semester at Rutgers. His jobs at the university will include representing the university to the media and government officials and connecting the university to communities on and off campus.
Goldstein and Daniel Gross in 2002 became the first gay couple to be featured on the wedding page in The New York Times after they were married in a ceremony in Canada and joined in a civil union in Vermont. The couple lives in Teaneck.