The Uruguay Senate has announced it will take up a gay marriage bill when it reconvenes on April 2.

Senator Luis Rosadilla of the ruling Frente Amplio party confirmed that the bill will be debated in the upcoming session, Spanish news agency EFE reported.

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 in December and President Jose Mujica has expressed support for it.

After passage in the House, Senate leaders agreed to postpone debate on the issue following an outcry from opponents who said they needed more time to study the proposal's text.

The measure has already received an initial nod in the Senate.

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

If the marriage law is approved, Uruguay would become the 12th nation to legalize such unions. In South America, only Argentina has extended marriage to gay couples. But inroads are being made in several other countries, including Mexico and Brazil. Colombia is currently debating the issue.