Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has endorsed gay marriage.

Hickenlooper, who championed passage of the state's civil unions law, quietly announced his support in a press release for One Colorado, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate.

“We have advocated for equal rights for all Coloradans and we will continue to advocate for equal rights for all Coloradans,” Hickenlooper is quoted as saying. “Last year, Colorado took a historic step forward when we passed bipartisan legislation recognizing civil unions. If all men and women truly have the inalienable right to pursue happiness, and if all people are created equal, then by extension of law, logic, and love, every adult couple should also have the freedom to join in marriage.”

Last month, nine gay couples filed a lawsuit challenging Colorado's 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment which defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

Kelly Maher with the conservative group Compass Colorado criticized the governor's low-key announcement.

“This is totally [Hickenlooper's] M.O.” Maher told NBC affiliate 9 News. “The guy is totally incapable of just standing up and saying, 'This is what I believe.' He gets away with it all the time.”

Dave Montez, who heads One Colorado, disagreed, saying that Hickenlooper's “support for gay and lesbian families is no secret.”

“He has long been a supporter of equal protection for all families,” Montez said.

Two pending lawsuits before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging similar marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma could impact Colorado and three other states under the court's jurisdiction.