LULAC passes resolution supporting marriage equality

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) passed a resolution on Saturday at its 83rd annual convention in favor of same-sex unions.

The resolution supports marriage equality for all Americans, including those in the LGBT community. Furthermore, the resolution opposes the denial of basic civil rights or acts of discrimination against any American, as is consistent with LULAC's continuing advocacy for civil rights and protections guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"Today the LULAC National Membership reaffirmed its commitment to equality for all by voting in favor of marriage equality," said Jesse Garcia, LULAC member and co-founder of the organization's first LGBT Council.

"LULAC stands with great Latino leaders like Dolores Huerta, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis who believe discrimination of same-sex couples should not be tolerated. This is a historic day for LGBT Latinos everywhere, plus this vote is another bond that reaffirms the partnership between the LGBT and Hispanic communities."

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, praised LULAC for supporting marriage equality.

“Today’s vote by the League of United Latino American Citizens in favor of the freedom to marry reflects LULAC’s longstanding support for inclusion and equality, and mirrors the values of a growing majority of Latinos in this country who know that every gay or lesbian person is part of someone’s family – a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a loved one – and no family members should face discrimination when they hope to marry the person they love," Wolfson said.

"Latino gay couples seek the freedom to marry to affirm and strengthen their love and commitment and their ability to take care of each other and their families; government should not be putting barriers in their way. Freedom to Marry applauds LULAC’s strong stand for justice and looks forward to working together to secure the freedom to marry for all gay and lesbian Latinos, and all Americans,” he said.

An April 2011 report by the National Council of La Raza found that 54% of Latinos support marriage. Surveys such as the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in April 2012 confirmed a Latino majority for marriage, reporting that 55% of Hispanics favor the freedom to marry (an increase of 10% since October 2009), while just 30% are opposed.

LULAC supported President Barack Obama's statement in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples, and has several LGBT councils.

"Since its inception, LULAC has fought for the equality of minorities," LULAC executive director Brent Wilkes said. "All individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, country of origin or sexual orientation, deserve equal rights. Everyone should be granted the freedom to marry their partner be protected under the same laws that are established for heterosexual couples."

Because all Americans are afforded equal protection under the law, states are prohibited from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. LGBT individuals in committed relationships are currently denied the benefits, rights, and protections as provided by marital law because of laws that deny marriage equality, including the Defense of Marriage Act. Couples who are allowed to marry are afforded 1,138 benefits, rights, and protections on the basis of marital law including access to social security survivor benefits, tax benefits, family and medical leave for domestic partners, continued health coverage, hospital visitation rights and immigration protections.

At the National Convention, LULAC conducted a workshop to increase the awareness of LGBT and HIV issues. The goal of the Convention's Equality Track was to empower attendees with skills to advocate for LGBT equality and HIV and Latino health issues. As the premier Hispanic convention, the LULAC National Convention draws over 20,000 participants each year including the top leaders from government, business, and the Hispanic community.

About LULAC

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is a volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 900 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC's programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future.

SOURCE: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

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