Matteo Renzi, the newly-elected leader of Italy's Democratic Party, on Sunday proposed recognizing gay and lesbian couples with civil partnerships.

Renzi, the mayor of Florence since 2009, was elected last week to lead the Democratic Party, winning 67.6 percent of the vote. Rivals Gianni Cuperlo and Giuseppe Civati received 18.2 and 14.2 percent, respectively.

The Democratic Party, along with Five Star Movement and Forza Italia, is one of Italy's three major political parties.

Speaking to a party assembly, Renzi, 38, backed the country's ruling coalition government and called for immigration reforms and simplification of the nation's labor laws to increase employment, Reuters reported.

According to the blog Agere per Formulas, Renzi's proposal would grant gay couples all the rights and obligations of marriage. However, the bill would not allow gay couples to adopt children.

Five Star Movement has previously endorsed marriage equality, but the Silvio Berlusconi-led center-right Forza Italia remains opposed.

(Related: Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino: Gay couples in love should marry.)