Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has said civil unions are about civil rights, not denying religious freedom.

Earlier this week, a bill seeking to legalize civil unions in Colorado cleared a Senate committee. A second committee will hear the bill before sending it to the full Senate.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, gave his thoughts on the third such legislative effort in a row in an interview from Davos, Switzerland, where he is representing Colorado at the World Economic Forum.

“This is a question of civil rights,” Hickenlooper told Colorado's Morning News anchors April Zesbaugh and Steffan Tubbs on 850 KOA radio. “We're not trying to tell any church what marriage is or trying to make that kind of decision for a church. What we're saying is that everyone should have the same legal rights, and I think that's what's going to happen with this legislation.”

If the bill is approved, Colorado would join five other states – Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Hawaii – which offer the union. All five of those states, however, are considering or are expected to consider moving to full marriage.

(Related: Bills legalizing, banning gay marriage introduced in Hawaii.)