Hickenlooper, addressing a joint session of the Colorado General Assembly, said in his State of the State address Colorado believes in equal rights.
“We don’t believe we should legislate what happens inside a church or place of worship, but government should treat all people equally,” he said.
It was his most public declaration of support for the legislation to date.
The day before Hickenlooper’s address, gay Denver Democrat Pat Steadman re-introduced his Colorado Civil Union Act.
Last year, the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee struck down the bill after it had cleared the Senate with bipartisan support.
Steadman and House Minority Leader Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, are currently shopping the bill for a Republican co-sponsor in the House.
Supporters of the bill believe the legislation will have better odds at clearing a Republican-controlled committee if it is sponsored by one of their own.
Republicans control the House by one vote, 33-32.
One Colorado, a statewide LGBT advocacy organization, said if passed, the bill will provide committed couples with the tools they need to provide for their families.
“We applaud the leadership of Gov. Hickenlooper and thank him for his courageous call for passage of this critical piece of legislation,” said One Colorado executive director Brad Clark. “His support of civil unions mirrors the widespread support across the state, including 76 percent of all Coloradans and 60 percent of Republicans.”