West Virginia Delegate John Doyle has said he plans to introduce a bill that would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions.

On Thursday, the 69-year-old Doyle said he would not seek re-election next year after nearly 20 years of service.

“I have represented the 57th House of Delegates district for the last 19 years and I have decided not to run for reelection,” he said, WEPM Radio News reported.

Doyle did not say what was next for him: “I love the Legislature. I'd love to stay in it, but there are some other things I want to do and I think I better get to them while I still have a good bit of energy.”

He added that he would sponsor a civil unions bill during the upcoming legislative session.

“I'm not going to introduce a gay marriage bill simply because it has no chance of passing the West Virginia Legislature. We just might be able to get a civil union bill through, so I'm going to give it a shot.”

If approved, West Virginia would join Rhode Island, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois and Delaware in offering the union. Lawmakers in Colorado are also expected to debate the issue next year.