Colombia might recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions by June as an effort to approve a gay marriage bill falters.

After several false starts, the Colombia Senate on Wednesday began debating the marriage bill sponsored by Senator Armando Benedetti. But after hearing nearly three hours of testimony, Senators agreed to postpone a vote on the bill until Tuesday. Leaders said the delay was due to technical difficulties in broadcasting the debate.

Outside the chamber, hundreds of supporters and opponents rallied in Plaza de Bolivar. Equal marriage advocates wrapped a sculpture of their nation's hero, Simon Bolivar, with a giant rainbow flag and staged a kiss-in.

Senate President Roy Barreras was accused of favoring opponents as the debate proceeded. Many of those who testified against passage of the measure made inflammatory statements against gay men and lesbians, but it was LGBT activists who Barreras accused of acting uncivil.

Blogger Andres Duque was following live coverage of the debate.

“Colombia Senate Prez Roy Barreras: We will not admit radical voices (after guy argued marriage equality = anal cancer),” he messaged on Wednesday to his more than 5,900 Twitter followers. “Colombian Senate President Roy Barreras, after saying he won't admit radical voices, says children will be recruited.”

Before the debate got underway, conservative party La U announced that they had the votes needed to kill the measure, and Barreras reiterated that he opposed the measure. Benedetti said he held out hope the bill would pass.

On Friday, news broke that notaries were preparing for Congress to miss the June 20 deadline imposed by the Constitutional Court and that a draft civil unions contract was being circulated among them.

The high court in 2011 ordered Congress to approve a law recognizing the relationships of gay couples before June 20. If a law is not approved by that date, then “gay 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,” the court wrote.