The League of United Latin American Citizens is the second leading Hispanic organization in the United States to support the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Julio Alva, a LULAC district director in Florida, told Efe on Tuesday that the organization took its decision based on a number of aspects but particularly on the legalities of the matter, so that couples can one day be recognized as such and receive mutual benefits.

"It's not fair that after spending their whole lives together, these couples cannot hope to receive certain benefits and that when one of them dies, the other cannot gain possession of the corresponding assets," he said.

LULAC issued a resolution backing equal matrimonial rights for same-sex couples during its 83rd annual convention held last week in Orlando, Florida.

The resolution was made after the National Council of La Raza approved a similar one in early June.

The cofounder of LULAC's first LGBT council, Jesse Garcia, said that members of the organization "reaffirmed their commitment to equality by voting in favor of matrimonial equality."

He said the organization thus aligns itself with "great Latino leaders" like U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and labor and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.

The backing of the country's leading Hispanic organizations comes after Barack Obama in May became the first U.S. president to publicly express his support for gay marriage.

"The president, with the courageous stand he has taken, made it possible for organizations like ours to also come out and back a crusade that strikes us as excellent for these times. May the whole world continue with this opening," Alva told Efe.

The LULAC resolution was also hailed in a statement to Efe from Felipe Matos of GetEqual, a group that defends the LGBT's civil rights.

"We believe this is a great step forward, for our liberation is an element of the freedom all Latinos seek in the United States. In GetEqual we're very grateful for LULAC'S support and that of the NCLR," Matos said Tuesday.

He said, however, that a further step is still needed - the signing of an executive order by Obama to halt workplace discrimination against the LGBT.

"There is no law that protects the LGBT from discrimination in the workplace. A person can be fired just for being gay, so we're asking President Obama to sign an executive order to stop the discrimination against those who work in companies that have contracts with the federal government," he said.

A recent NCLR study showed that the Hispanic community has improved its perception of the LGBT and that it is "more open and tolerant" than other segments of the U.S. population.

The study showed that the acceptance of the LGBT community is directly proportional to the time the Hispanics have lived in the United States. EFE