Lawmakers in Chile are considering a bill which seeks to recognize the relationships of gay and lesbian couples.

The legislation, first introduced in 2011 by President Sebastian Pinera, is one of three put on a fast-track before Pinera's term ends next month and Michelle Bachelet, who led the nation from 2006 to 2010, returns as president.

Pinera's bill would allow gay and straight couples who have live together for more than one year to enter a legal contract called the Life Partner Agreement (Acuerdo de Vida en Pareja), or AVP.

The Senate has agreed to the legislation in principle.

Appearing on CNN Chile, Senator-elect Ivan Moreira (UDI) said that if the legislation is not enacted, the incoming government will certainly legalize marriage for gay couples.

Moreira said that he prefers civil unions over marriage for gay couples, calling such unions a ā€œlesser evil.ā€