The board of directors of the National Association for the Deaf (NAD) late last month followed in the footsteps of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to endorse equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

In a statement released on May 25th, NAD said it supported gay nuptials because it was “consistent with the NAD mission to safeguard the civil, human and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing individuals – whose marriage rights have been suppressed throughout history.”

“Our stance on marriage equality reflects the historic commitment of the NAD to protection of the rights of all deaf and hard of hearing individuals,” NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins said. “Marriage equality, and the benefits that go with marriage, are a fundamental civil right that must be accorded to everyone, including GLBT members of our community who deserve no less.”

The group added that it would highlight its stance during its upcoming 51st biennial conference to be held next month in Louisville, Kentucky.

The NAACP last month endorsed marriage equality, saying it is a “civil right and a matter of civil law.”