Voters in Delaware overwhelmingly approve of civil unions, which offer gay and lesbian couples many of the benefits and responsibilities of marriage.

The gay rights group Equality Delaware announced last month that it was helping lawmakers draft legislation to legalize civil unions in the state. The measure is expected to be introduced sometime this month.

According to a poll released Wednesday by Lake Research Partners, sixty-two percent of likely voters favor civil unions, compared to 31 percent who oppose the proposed law.

Ellen Goodman, President of Equality Delaware, cheered the news.

“There's a lot of folks out there on both sides of the issue, talking, but it's important to stop and look at what the numbers really are in terms of support,” Goodman told WDEL 1150AM.

“We are very optimistic that the legislation that we drafted will be passed this session,” she added.

Social conservatives in the state have begun a campaign to defeat the measure before it's even been introduced. In an “Urgent call to action,” the Delaware Family Policy Council urged members to oppose the proposal.

If Delaware approves civil unions, the state would join Illinois, Hawaii and New Jersey in offering the union. Colorado lawmakers are also debating the issue.