Argentina’s Senate has voted 33-27 to support a bill to legalise gay marriage.

As President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner supports the legislation, she is expected to sign it into law, making Argentina the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage.

The bill will grant gay couples equal rights, including the right to adopt children. It amends marriage laws to refer to the “marrying parties”, rather than men and women.

The protests of religious groups did not dissuade politicians from backing the bill, despite thousands of people demonstrating against it in capital city Buenos Aires yesterday.

The Pope’s number one in the country, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, even claimed it was the work of the devil.

President Kirchner rebutted this, saying that such sentiments “send us back to medieval times and the Inquisition”.

Currently, only a few areas of Argentina recognise civil unions between same-sex couples: Buenos Aires itself, the province of Río Negro in Patagonia, and the city of Villa Carlos Paz in Córdoba province.

Worldwide, Argentina is the tenth country to allow gay marriage after the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Iceland, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden and Portugal.