Two Chilean senators introduced a bill to allow gay marriage this week but commentators say the measure is unlikely to succeed.

Fulvio Rossi, the head of the country’s Socialist party, said his bill was about “strengthening democracy”.

It will not give gay couples the right to adopt children but he said he hoped this issue could be debated at a later stage. Instead, it would remove gender from marriage laws.

This week, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, the archbishop of Santiago, said allowing gay couples to marry would be an “aberration”.

Chile’s Conservative President Sebastian Pinera supports civil unions but says that he believes marriage should be restricted to heterosexuals.

Fabian Pressacco, a political science professor at Santiago’s Alberto Hurtado University, told Reuters that gay marriage supporters could have more luck trying to implement non-marital means of recognition, such as civil unions.

He added that issues such as a divided Congress and internal disagreement in the opposition party would also hamper the bill.

Chile only legalised divorce in 2004.

Last week, Argentina’s new law allowing gay couples to wed came into effect.