Supporters of gay marriage in Paraguay say they have a good chance of having the legislation approved.

The debate on whether to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in the Roman Catholic stronghold kicked off Saturday with two large demonstrations.

Opponents of marriage equality protested at town squares throughout the nation, while advocates gathered in front of the Pantheon of Heroes, Asuncion's memorial to the country's fallen soldiers, to urge Paraguayans to support gay marriage.

The gay rights group SOMOSGAY (we are gay) will present the gay marriage bill to legislators this month. Opposition, however, began mobilizing just days after neighboring Argentina approved a similar law in July.

“We are going to put out an intense educational campaign on Christian values, to avoid the law of marriage between people of the same sex that was approved in Argentina from coming to Paraguay,” Bishop Adalberto Martinez of San Pedo told La Nation.

The church is backing the campaign Queremos Papa y Mama (We want a mother and a father), which sponsored Saturday's anti-gay marriage Festival Por La Vida Y La Familia (Festival For Life & Family).

SOMOSGAY President Simon Cazal said that while his group will present the gay marriage bill this month, lawmakers aren't expected to take up the bill until early next year. “There is a possibility that it'll be approved,” Cazal told On Top Magazine in an email.