Uruguay's Parliament will begin debating a gay marriage bill this week.

The proposed legislation was introduced in Parliament last August.

The House Committee on the Constitution will vote individually on the bill's 29 articles on Wednesday, Spanish news agency EFE reported.

The measure would grant gay and lesbian couples “the same rights” as heterosexuals, said Hannibal Pereyra of the ruling Frento Amplio party.

“The legislation is in line with what has been the central policy of the Frente Amplio in recent years: affirmation of human rights and the social inclusion of minorities,” he said.

Last year, a court in Uruguay for the first time recognized the legal marriage of a gay couple. Judge Eduardo Martinez recognized on appeal the legality of a marriage entered into in Spain, where Socialists legalized marriage equality in 2005. The binational couple lives in both Uruguay and Spain.

Currently, Uruguay recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions. After a couple has lived in a “stable relationship” for 5 years they may petition the government for recognition.

If approved, Uruguay would become only the second South American country after Argentina to legalize marriage equality.