MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — El proyecto para permitir el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, impulsado por el gobierno del presidente José Mujica, se debate el martes en el Senado uruguayo.

La iniciativa debería ser adoptada por el total de la mayoría oficialista, tras lo cual deberá volver a la cámara baja, ya que la versión original votada en diciembre por los diputados sufrió modificaciones.

Mujica tenía intenciones de promulgarlo como ley a principios de 2013, pero no puede hacerlo hasta que sea aprobado en ambas cámaras, donde el oficialismo tiene mayoría.

Si el texto fuera consagrado como ley, Uruguay sería el 12do país del mundo y el tercero en el continente americano (después de Canadá y Argentina) en permitir el matrimonio homosexual en todo su territorio.

Una versión anterior del llamado "proyecto de matrimonio igualitario" ya había recibido una amplia aprobación el 12 de diciembre en la cámara de diputados, con votos de legisladores de los tres principales partidos: el gobernante Frente Amplio (izquierda), el Partido Nacional (centro) y el Partido Colorado (derecha).

El gobierno del Frente Amplio cuenta con los votos necesarios para lograr la aprobación del texto el martes en el Senado. Los otros dos partidos dejaron en libertad de acción a sus legisladores.

El proyecto surgió de un texto redactado por el 'Colectivo Ovejas Negras', que promueve demandas de grupos homosexuales, retomado por diputados del Frente Amplio.

Federico Graña, integrante de Ovejas Negras, dijo que el proyecto "es algo que va mucho más allá de la homosexualidad, se trata de una ley en la que todos tengan los mismos derechos y obligaciones".

Además del matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, el proyecto de ley incluye otros temas polémicos, como permitir que parejas homosexuales adopten niños.

El texto es presentado ante la cámara alta por el senador oficialista Rafael Michelini. "Este es un tema de libertad, de elección de la gente, y de justicia", dijo Michelini, consultado por The Associated Press.

"De libertad, porque el Estado no debe meterse en con quién debe casarse uno; y de justicia, porque si uno se casa en el exterior con una persona de su mismo sexo, si luego vuelve a Uruguay se le reconoce su casamiento", agregó.

La justicia uruguaya reconoció por primera vez en junio pasado un matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, al aceptar la solicitud de un uruguayo y un español casados previamente en España que querían formalizar su situación en el país.

La iglesia Católica, por su parte, pidió a los legisladores actuar "a conciencia" y rechazar el proyecto.

Si se aprueba esta ley "se oscurecerá un bien fundamental de la persona, como es la familia", dijo el domingo el arzobispo de Montevideo, Nicolás Cotugno, en su homilía de Pascua. "Dios ha hecho al hombre a su imagen y semejanza, y dice el Génesis que macho y hembra los creó", por tanto "todo lo que se aparta" de este principio, la Iglesia "no puede aceptarlo", agregó.

"Parecería lógico que 'dos personas del mismo sexo que se quieren y desean compartir su vida' puedan tener algún tipo de reconocimiento civil, pero no puede ser igual al que regula el matrimonio", dijo a AP el obispo Jaime Fuentes, presidente del sector Familia de la Conferencia Episcopal Uruguaya. Por lo pronto, "los niños tienen derecho a tener un padre y una madre, naturales o adoptivos, para crecer como personas", agregó.

La legislación uruguaya permite que parejas del mismo sexo legalicen su unión -aunque no como matrimonio- y que aspiren a adoptar niños.

El texto a votarse este martes implica además cambios para todos los matrimonios -homosexuales o no- como por ejemplo poder decidir el orden de los apellidos de los padres al nombrar un hijo, biológico o adoptado, o que pueda decidirse el divorcio por la sola decisión de cualquiera de los dos cónyuges, siendo que hasta ahora solo la mujer tenía ese derecho, merced a una norma de 1912.

El gobierno de Mujica, un ex guerrillero izquierdista, impulsa estos últimos meses varias leyes liberales en Uruguay, lo que incluye la legalización de la marihuana y la reciente despenalización del aborto.

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