Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is making good on a campaign promise to introduce a gay marriage bill.

The 62-year-old Bachelet, who served as the country's first female leader between 2006 and 2010, returned to power last week.

Bachelet campaigned on a progressive platform, promising to carry out reforms such as free post-secondary education, legalizing abortion and opening discussions on same-sex marriage.

Justice Minister Jose Antonio Gomez has proposed legislation which would make Chile only the fourth South American country behind Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to allow gay couples to marry.

“It is a controversial and debatable topic,” Gomez told a House committee on Tuesday. “However, we are certain that it is necessary to present and discuss in Parliament.”

The Senate in Chile earlier this year overwhelmingly approved a bill which would establish a legal contract called the Life Partner Agreement, which would give gay and straight couples many of the benefits and obligations of marriage.