ST. PAUL (AP) - The man who led the successful effort to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota has taken a top job with a group pushing to make it legal in more U.S. states.

New York-based Freedom to Marry raises funds and works on legal strategies for same-sex marriage drives nationwide. The group announced Tuesday that Richard Carlbom will be its new director of state campaigns.

Carlbom graduated from St. John's University, and later was elected mayor of St. Joseph.

The group says Carlbom will direct the group's push for gay marriage in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon in 2013 and 2014, and in six additional states by 2015-2016. Right now gay marriage is legal in 13 states.

Carlbom led Minnesotans United, which started as the campaign against a gay marriage ban in Minnesota and shifted to chief lobby group for the bill to legalize it.