A majority of Coloradans support legalizing gay marriage, a new survey has found.

According to a poll of 542 Colorado voters released Friday by Public Polling Policy, 53 percent of respondents support the institution, while 40 percent say marriage should remain a union exclusive to heterosexual couples.

An overwhelming number of respondents also preferred marriage (47%) over civil unions (28%) for gay couples. Only 22 percent said there should be no legal recognition whatsoever for the relationships of gay couples.

ā€œColorado is another in a growing number of states where polls show voters are rapidly shifting towards supporting legal gay marriage,ā€ Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in releasing the poll's findings.

A bill which would recognize gay couples with civil unions was reintroduced last month in the Colorado House, where a Republican-controlled committee killed a similar bill last year after the Senate gave its approval.

According to the survey, a large majority of voters support passage of the bill by a 62-32 margin.

Lawmakers are barred from pursuing marriage for gay couples due to a 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment which defines marriage as a heterosexual union.