Argentina's House of Representatives (la Camara de Diputados) will begin to debate a gay marriage bill Wednesday, various Argentine news agencies are reporting.

The bill received the approval of a key committee two weeks ago.

Recognition of gay unions is gaining ground in the Roman Catholic stronghold of Argentina. Several metropolitan cities – including the nation's capital of Buenos Aires – have approved civil unions for gay couples.

Last December, two men were married in the Argentine state of Tierra del Fuego after Governor Fabiana Rios issued a special decree. The southern city of Ushuaia hosted the wedding, which was originally scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires on December 1 after a judge ruled the government's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, but a national judge ordered a halt to the ceremony at the last minute. Three more gay couples have since married.

The legality of Alejandro Freyre's and Jose Maria Di Bello's marriage remains in doubt after a magistrate declared it “nonexistent” earlier this month. The couple, however, has said they will appeal the ruling.

Other Latin American countries are also considering taking action.

In March, a gay marriage law took effect in Mexico City, making it the first municipality in Latin America to approve such unions. Federal officials have appealed to the country's Supreme Court to strike down the measure. Uruguay recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions.

The Catholic Church stands strongly opposed to the measure. The church said the state would be “in contradiction with its duties by altering the principles of natural law,” if it approved the bill.

If approved, Argentina would become the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage.