A Chilean senator who is the head of the country’s Socialist party has announced he will sponsor a bill to introduce same-sex marriage.

Fulvio Rossi’s bill will not give gay couples the right to adopt children but he said he hoped this issue could be debated at a later stage.

According to the Spanish news agency EFE, the move has the support of Carolina Taho, incoming president of the Partido por la Democracia party.

Chilean politicians are already considering the Acuerdo de Vida en Comun (AVC), which would act as a civil union available to straight and gay couples.

This weekend, a Chilean Catholic leader attacked neighbouring country Argentina’s new law allowing gay couples to wed.

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, the archbishop of Santiago, said:

“It may be that two people, two men or two women, want to live together and share life, but to call that marriage is an aberration.”

Responding, Mr Rossi called on the church to “be more welcoming”.

Last week, reports said that Uruguay could be next to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The country already allows civil unions, adoption rights for gay couples, the right for gay people to serve openly in the military and grants trans people the option of legally changing their gender.

Diego Sempol of gay group Ovejas Negras (Black Sheep) told Argentina’s Telam that his group was in promising discussions with leading politicians.