August 29, 2014
BOGOTA (AFP) - Colombian Commerce Minister Cecilia Alvarez spoke publicly for the first time Thursday about her lesbian relationship with fellow cabinet member Gina Parody, saying sexuality had no relation to government work.
Asked during an interview on RCN radio about the political implications of having a lesbian couple in President Juan Manuel Santos's government, Alvarez, whose partner is the education minister, said the question was irrelevant.
"I ask myself why these questions are never asked of men. How many men with the same tendency as us have been in these cabinets. I can't deny what I am and that's never been discussed. The president, as the human being he is, has always spoken of my abilities," she said.
"I give thanks to the president because he has never, ever gotten involved in personal issues. Instead he has seen our professional qualities," added Alvarez, who was previously Santos's transport minister.
The long-term relationship between Alvarez and Parody was widely known in Colombia, but the interview marked the first time such a high-ranking official had openly discussed being homosexual.
It came as the South American country's Constitutional Court considers allowing adoption by gay couples.