A Peruvian lawmaker announced Thursday that he is sponsoring a bill which would recognize gay and lesbian couples in Peru with civil unions.

Congressman Carlos Bruce told Canal N that gay couples in Peru were victims of state-sponsored discrimination because they are not allowed to protect their relationships by law, and are therefore vulnerable.

“This will strengthen families, because it'll add a new kind of family that is going to join their assets, they're going to have more disposable income, and they're going to pay more taxes,” Bruce is quoted as saying by Peru21. “And lastly, something else, the most important: They're going to be happier, which they have every right to be.”

Bruce insisted that his bill would not allow gay couples to marry or adopt children. He's previously said that marriage remains out of reach for now.

The Roman Catholic Church in Peru has strongly opposed government recognition of gay unions. During the 2011 presidential election, Archbishop Luis Bambaren scolded pro-gay politicians, including Bruce, saying that their motivation behind proposing “useless things” was votes.

“I do not know why we talk about gays. Let's speak in Creole or Castilian: They're fags. That's how you say it, right?” he added.