A group of Colorado Republicans is organizing in support of a civil unions bill for gay and lesbian couples.

The group Coloradans for Freedom is headed by Jefferson County attorney Mario Nicolais and has formed specifically to support a proposed civil unions bill, The Denver Post reported.

The group believes that allowing gay couples to form a civil union is consistent with the Republican philosophy of individual freedom.

“The point is not to create conflict within the Republican Party,” Nicolais told the paper. “It's to provide resources to people interested in the conservative argument for civil unions.”

Last year, a civil unions bill died in a Republican-controlled House committee after the Senate had approved the measure. Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2006. An effort last year to repeal the amendment fizzled.

Senator Pat Steadman of Denver is expected to re-introduce the bill in the upcoming legislative session, which begins January 11.

House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino, who sponsored the bill in the House last year, is waiting to see if a Republican will sign on.

“I'm glad to see a group of leaders on the right coming out and saying, 'If we are for limited government, we should be for civil unions,'' Ferrandino said. “It can't do anything but help the chances of a civil unions bill passing this year.”

(Related: Openly gay Mark Ferrandino elected Colorado House minority leader.)