A bill that would legalize marriage between two members of the same sex is expected to be introduced in Uruguay next week, La Nacion reported.

The bill was drafted with the help of the gay rights group Ovejas Negras (Black Sheep) and is being sponsored by Representative Sebastian Sabini of the Frente Amplio, the nation's ruling party.

The bill also proposes to reform divorce in the country, making it easier for couples to end their marriages.

Former President Tabare Vazquez turned tiny Uruguay into a gay rights leader in the region. During his 5-year tenure the country dropped its ban on gay troops serving in the military and gave gay couples the right to adopt children. In 2007, Uruguay became the first Latin American nation to recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions. Two years later, Vazquez signed a groundbreaking transgender law that sets the legal guidelines for people who want to change their gender.

Last year, Argentina became the first nation in the region to legalize gay marriage. Gay couples in Mexico can marry in the municipality of Mexico City and their marriages are recognized throughout the nation.

An effort to legalize gay marriage in Brazil was introduced last week.