The Colombia Senate is considering whether to approve a bill which would legalize gay marriage in the largely Roman Catholic nation.

Senator Armando Benedetti's proposal originally sought to create civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. He's since altered the language to marriage. However, Benedetti's bill would not give married gay couples the right to adopt children.

El Espectador reported that the marriage bill was officially filed on Wednesday.

β€œIn this country homosexuals already have economic rights and social security, therefore it is time to move toward matrimony,” Benedetti is quoted as saying.

A vote in the Senate could come as early as next week.

Last year, Colombia's Constitution Court upheld marriage as a heterosexual union but gave lawmakers an ultimatum: recognize gay unions before July 20, 2013 or we'll do it for you.

According to the order, if Congress fails to act, then β€œgay couples can go to a notary and with the same solemnity of a heterosexual marriage enter a union similar to one between a heterosexual couple,” said Judge Juan Carlos Henao, the court's president.

In response, lawmakers have introduced several competing bills.