Members of the Justice and Human Rights Commission of the Peruvian Congress by a 7-4 vote margin killed the measure that gay Congressman Carlos Bruce introduced.
Two lawmakers abstained from the vote.
The vote took place against the backdrop of an intense debate over the issue, during which Chimbote Bishop Emeritus Luis Armando Bambarén Gastelumendi reportedly called Bruce a “faggot.”
Bruce last September defended his bill during an interview with the Washington Blade in Lima, the Peruvian capital.
“It would show this union of partners does not mean that society is going to fall and that we live in Sodom and Gomorrah,” he said.
Piura Archbishop José Antonio Eguren Anselmi applauded lawmakers for rejecting the civil unions bill.
“The bill contained legal elements of marriage,” he said, according to El Comercio, a Peruvian newspaper. “It pretended to equivocate the civil union to marriage and therefore the tabled legislative proposal was really in truth an undercover gay marriage.”
Peru’s LGBT rights movement in recent years has made strides in spite of a lack of legal protections, pervasive violence and steep opposition to civil unions and other forms of relationship recognition for same-sex couples.
Bruce in May 2014 came out as gay during an interview with El Comercio. Luisa Revilla Urcia, a transgender woman and LGBT rights advocate, last October won a seat on the local council in La Esperanza in the province of Trujillo.
Hundreds of LGBT rights advocates from across Latin America and the Caribbean gathered in Lima last September for a meeting the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund co-sponsored. The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is also working with a gay couple in Lima who has launched the GLBT Peruvian Chamber of Commerce.
Peru is among the countries that backed a 2014 resolution against anti-LGBT violence and discrimination the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted.