Gay marriage is turning up the heat on Peru's presidential race.

Support for recognizing gay and lesbian couples is on the increase in Latin America, where Argentina and Mexico City have legalized gay marriage. (Gay marriage is effectively legal throughout Mexico since its highest court ruled that all states must recognize the marriages of Mexico City.)

Last year, lawmakers in Peru attempted to follow suit by introducing a bill that would have recognized gay couples with civil unions. The Roman Catholic Church objected to the bill, warning it was a ploy to win voter's affections.

The issue returned to the front burner last week after vice presidential candidate Carlos Bruce, of the Peru Possible Party, told Peruvian daily El Comercio that gay marriage “is a part of our political agenda.” Bruce, however, has advocated for civil unions, saying marriage remains out of reach.

While not directly mentioning Bruce, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima urged Catholics to reject gay marriage.

“Marriage is a life-long union between one man and one woman, despite attempts by some to propose other things,” he said during a Mass commemorating the anniversary of the founding of Lima.

More radical was Archbishop Luis Bambaren who told reporters on Monday that politicians “are just looking for votes when they propose useless things like gay marriage.”

“I do not know why we talk about gays. Let's speak in Creole or Castilian: They're fags. That's how you say it, right?” he added.