LGBT groups in Maryland teamed up with the state’s largest Latino and immigrant rights group yesterday, hoping to build support for November ballot questions which, if passed, will allow marriage equality and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Equality Maryland, the state’s key LGBT civil rights group and Casa de Maryland held a news conference at the latter’s headquarters in Hyattsville.

The partnership was announced by gay immigrants.

As reported in the Washington Times, Senator Richard Madeleno, an openly gay state lawmaker, said it was a natural alliance because the measures essentially share the same fundamental reasons for support.

“It’s about fairness, and equality and justice. It’s about hope, dignity and opportunity and personal responsibility, because an education is about your ability to go out and get that education. No one gives it to you. You have to earn that diploma.

“Marriage is about personal responsibility. These are potentially the two most important aspects of someone’s life.”

The executive director of Casa, Gustavo Torres, said the two groups are creating a united front on two significant civil rights issues.

He said: “For us, it’s an issue of families, because familia es familia. We are going to demonstrate that the Latino and immigrant community strongly supports both referendums on 6 November.”

A 20-year-old Peruvian lesbian called Ivette Roman said that while she has worked hard in school since coming to the US aged 10, she has been unable to afford higher education since graduating, as she cannot get financial aid despite her decade of residence.

Maryland lawmakers passed a marriage equality measure this year. The tuition bill was passed last year and Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, signed both measures. However, opponents later gathered enough signatures to place both measures on the ballot.