Gay rights campaigners have criticised the decision of Uruguay’s Senate to delay voting on the country’s proposed equal marriage bill.

A vote will now take place in April amid calls by some parliamentarians for greater scrutiny of the legislation.

The Marriage Equality Law, approved on 11 December by the lower house, was backed by the governing coalition.

If passed, the law would make Uruguay the second Latin American nation after Argentina to allow gay couples marriage rights.

Gay rights groups criticised the delay and dozens of people demonstrated outside the Congress building in the capital Montevideo on Wednesday.

In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same-sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow openly gay members of the armed forces.

Uruguay’s neighbour Argentina legalised equal marriage in 2010.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, during a parliamentary debate about equal marriage in Colombia, a senator said the measure would lead to necrophilia, bestiality and paedophilia.