Carlos Bruce, the Peruvian lawmaker behind a push to legalize civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, came out gay on Sunday.

Speaking to Lima daily El Comercio, Bruce, a 57-year-old divorced father of two adult sons, said he was a proud gay man.

“I am gay and I am proud to belong to that group of people that are so valuable to Peru,” he said.

He added that he had decided to come out because “it's time.”

“I've always been reluctant to talk about my private life and less of the things I do in bed.  I find [talking about it] distasteful. But the time is correct to graph the rights you have and that I don't. Many believe I am unable to be a good parent or that being gay I cannot serve my country. However, I've done it for 12 years. It is an opportunity to strike down that image.”

Bruce added that he has received death threats since he introduced his legislation.

Last year, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani accused Bruce of introducing the civil unions bill to “justify his [sexual] orientation.”

Bruce, a popular political figure in Peru, responded: “I regret that … [the cardinal] is bringing up personal matters … I will not answer such vileness.”