About 100 people on Wednesday protested the Uruguay Senate's decision to postpone a vote on a gay marriage bill until April.

The Senate (Camara de Senadores), which is currently in parliamentary recess, held a special session to discuss a dozen bills, including one aimed at reforming the nation's marriage laws to include gay and lesbian couples.

The “Marriage Equality Law” seeks to modify some 20 articles of the Civil Code, including whose surname goes first when children are named.

The bill cleared the nation's lower house earlier this month, and President Jose Mujica has expressed support for it. However, opponents in the Senate said they needed more time to study the proposal's text.

About 100 people demonstrated the decision in front of the Civil Registry office of Montevideo, Uruguay's capital city and home to more than half of the nation's 3.3 million citizens.

If approved, Uruguay would become the 12th nation to legalize such unions. In South America, only Argentina has extended marriage rights to gay couples. But a spate of rulings in other countries is pushing for change. In Mexico, its highest court has deemed gay marriage bans illegal, making it only a matter of time before marriage for gay couples extends beyond the borders of Mexico City. And in February Sao Paulo, Brazil's most populous state with 41 million citizens, will effectively begin issuing marriage licenses when “upgrades” from civil unions for gay couples will be automatically issued. Colombia is currently debating the issue.