An Argentine judge has rule in favor of allowing a gay couple to marry, opening the door to gay marriage for the first time in Latin America, the AFP reported.

Judge Gabriela Seijas ordered government officials to allow two men, Alejandro Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, to marry. Seijas issued her order on Wednesday but it was not publicized till Thursday.

The couple, who filed a complaint in April, said they were overjoyed and a bit surprised.

“We are very happy, moved, but we also feel the heavy weight of responsibility because it's not just about us, it's encouraging legal equality in Argentina and the rest of Latin America,” Di Bello told the news service.

The ruling only impacts the progressive city of Buenos Aires, where gay couples are allowed to enter civil unions.

City officials appeared to support the decision. Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri told reporters that the city would not pursue an appeal, saying: “We have to live together and accept reality … The world is heading in this direction.”

The ruling could improve the odds for a gay marriage bill currently being debated in the Argentine Congress. If approved, Argentina would become the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage and only the second country in the Americas, after Canada.

A similar measure introduced in 2007 fueled a backlash from the Roman Catholic Church, which opposes the measure. The church wields huge influence in the country of 40 million. Until 1994, the nation's president and vice president were required by law to be members of the Catholic Church and married.

“Claiming heterosexuality as a prerequisite for marriage is not discrimination,” Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe told the paper La Nation.

In 2002, Buenos Aires, the nation's capital and largest city, legalized civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, a first in Latin America. Four other Argentine cities followed. Uruguay is the only Latin American country to recognize gay unions.