Gay GOP group GOProud on Friday announced it now supports marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

“We support same-sex marriage, civil marriage,” GOProud executive director Jimmy LaSalvia told BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner.

Since its inception in 2009, the group has maintained that it has no position on marriage equality because it is not a federal issue. However, it has said that it opposes the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevents federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.

The move toward civil marriage comes after the group's decision to become active at the state level.

“Since we'll be forming groups in the states, that makes [it] necessary that we take positions on state issues,” LaSalvia said. “And so, for the first time, we felt it necessary to articulate our position on marriage and relationship recognition for gay people. We hadn't had to do that before because we only worked on federal issues, and marriage has always been an issue dealt with [by] the states.”

The group said it supports efforts to legalize such unions in Illinois, Minnesota and Rhode Island.

“Where it is is being considered and where it is possible, we support it and we're going to be there,” LaSalvia said.

The group's official position is that it does not support gains through court rulings.

“We believe that the decision about how to best do this is one that should be made at the state level and that these decisions are best made by the people directly or through their elected representatives – not by unelected judges.”

GOProud was the first group of gay Republican to endorse Mitt Romney for president.

In an appearance on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, LaSalvia was asked, “How can you really support a ticket which is so resolutely opposed not just to gay marriage but to most gay rights?”

“Right. I know, but look, here's the deal,” LaSalvia explained. “The answer is you gotta have a date before you get married. Everyone knows you can't get a date without a job.”