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Socially liberal Uruguay already has civil unions, now considering same-sex marriage law

Uruguay's congress is considering a proposal to legalize gay marriage.

The country already has a civil unions law and has stood out in Latin America lately for legalizing abortion and planning to sell government-grown marijuana to any citizen who wants it.

The proposed "marriage equality" law would change the country's nearly-century-old civil code and give same-sex couples all the rights and responsibilities of heterosexual married couples.

It was drafted by gay activists in the so-called "Black Sheep Collective" and now has the support of the ruling Broad Front coalition, which decided Wednesday to study the measure next week.

Roman Catholic Bishop Jaime Fuentes told The Associated Press Wednesday that "marriage equality" is a misnomer and that children have the right to be raised by a mother and father.