Congress in Colombia has approved a bill to grant homosexual couples the same rights to social security benefits as heterosexual couples.
Marcela Sanchez said the bill "validates our relationships"
If ratified by the Senate and signed by President Alvaro Uribe, it would make Colombia the first Latin American country to pass a national measure.
The bill gives equal health insurance rights and allows a surviving gay partner to inherit shared assets.
The law could take effect soon as it has President Uribe's backing.
A few Latin American states and cities have passed gay rights laws but not a whole nation.
Marcela Sanchez, director of gay rights group Colombia Diversa, said up to 300,000 homosexual couples in Colombia could benefit after the approval.
"It validates our union before the law so we no longer have to go around lying about our relationship," she said.
The bill passed by 62-43 after a heated debate in the lower house.
A unified text, taking into account the version approved in the Senate in April, must now be agreed.
Regions passing similar bills in the mainly staunchly Catholic Latin America include Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Brazil's province of Rio Grande do Sul.