Brazil's first openly gay lawmaker, Jean Wyllys, is widely expected on Tuesday to introduce legislation that would legalize gay marriage.

Wyllys, who parlayed a 2005 Big Brother Brazil win into a political career, will introduce the legislation with the support of leaders from two countries which have already approved the institution.

Argentine National Deputy Vilma Ibarra, who played a prominent role in last year's effort to legalize gay marriage in her country, and the Spanish socialist Pedro Zerolo will assist Wyllys in the effort. Spain legalized marriage for gay and lesbian couples in 2005.

Currently, gay couples cannot legally marry in Brazil, where marriage is regulated by the federal government, not the states. Courts, however, have ruled that gay couples are de facto partners, a status that grants many benefits similar to marriage.

Neither the country's constitution nor its laws ban gay marriage, but both fail to acknowledge it officially.

After announcing his plans, Wyllys, a member of the socialist-inspired P-SOL party, received homophobic threats on social networks, including Twitter. The threats have not stopped at Brazil's border; several came from the UK and the United States.

On Sunday he tweeted to his more than 31,000 followers: “The psychoanalyst Helio Pellegrino said that a person who is blinded by hatred and jealousy is doomed to miss his life. A good lesson for you!”