The head of the successful campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota is taking a new role with a powerful national group trying to bring gay marriage to more states.

Freedom to Marry announced Tuesday that Richard Carlbom will be its new director of state campaigns, targeting about a dozen states from now until 2016. Other likely states include Illinois, Oregon and North Carolina.

“Richard’s wealth of experience and expertise will enable Freedom to Marry to continue to lead and accelerate the work required to win marriage nationwide,” said Marc Solomon, Freedom to Marry’s national campaign director. “The groundbreaking campaign Richard led in Minnesota was a model of strategy, drive, and mobilization – exactly what we’ll need to win the next waves of states.”

After a two year battle led by Carlbom, Minnesota begins recognizing same-sex marriage Aug. 1.

Carlbom served as campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, which a defeated a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2012. A new group formed out of that campaign, which Carlbom also led, that pressed legislators to legalize same-sex marriage.

Carlbom helped create a political-action group to aid Minnesota legislators in tough districts who supported same-sex marriage.

More recently, he has started a political consulting group with two other political operatives.

Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson said now is the time to press more states to legalize same-sex marriage.

“This past year has brought our campaign galvanizing gains: winning seven states, solidifying and diversifying a national majority, and delivering a powerful blow to federal marriage discrimination in the Supreme Court,” he said in a statement. “This irrefutable momentum confirms that the national strategy we have pursued is the strategy that will bring us to nationwide victory, and that full victory is within reach -- within years, not decades.”

The group pledged $500,000 to state marriage campaigns, directing half of that to the Oregon ballot fight that Carlbom will lead.

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