Chilean Senator Fulvio Rossi announced Sunday he'll introduce a gay marriage bill shortly, the Spanish news agency EFE reported.

The announcement follows quick on the heels of Latin America's first gay marriage law taking effect over the weekend in Argentina.

The proposal does not include the adoption of children, but Rossi told reporters he hopes to debate the issue at a later date.

The measure is being backed by Carolina Taho, incoming president of the Partido por la Democracia (PPD) party.

“We do not think gay people have fewer rights to build stable relationships than heterosexuals,” Taho said. “On the contrary, we think they are citizens who are entitled to live their lives once the legislation gives them the conditions to do so safely.”

Lawmakers are already considering a set of reforms called the Acuerdo de Vida en Comun (AVC) which would give both gay and straight couples all the rights and obligations of marriage. The legislation would be similar to civil union laws adopted by several states in the United States.

The AVC has already stirred controversy and many lawmakers are not interested in voting on the measure so close to elections later this month.

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, the archbishop of Santiago, spoke out Saturday against Argentina's gay marriage law.

“It may be that two people, two men or two women, want to live together and share life, but to call that marriage is an aberration,” he said.

Rossi called on the Roman Catholic Church “to be more tolerant” and said the cardinal's statements had “caused immense pain.”

While Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has publicly backed the AVC, his party, the Renovacio Nacional, has already rejected the idea of legalizing gay marriage in the Catholic stronghold.

Since the legalization of gay marriage in Argentina, neighboring Uruguay and Paraguay have announced plans to consider similar measures.