By Patrick B. Craine

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, July 15, 2010 ( – Argentina is set to become the first Latin American country to create gay “marriage” nationwide after their upper house passed the controversial legislation Thursday morning.

The lower house had already approved same-sex “marriage” in May, and yesterday the Senate passed the bill in a vote of 33-27, with three abstentions. President Cristina Fernandez, who has been supportive of same-sex “marriage,” is expected to sign the legislation on her return from a state visit to China.

The bill purports to give “wedded” same-sex couples the same rights and privileges as those afforded within true marriage, including adoption rights.

The bill was passed despite strong opposition among the populace. Beginning on Tuesday, the country’s conference of Catholic bishops rallied a large crowd, estimated to be between 50,000 and 250,000, to affirm true marriage outside Congress.

Catholics were joined by the Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches and the Evangelical Pentecostal Confraternity Federation. A smaller number of counter-protesters were also present.

The country’s top Catholic prelate, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, called the bill “a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”