The Italian Senate in January will consider a civil partnerships bill.

The Civil Union and Cohabitation agreement bill was introduced on Thursday. Backing the bill are 15 MPs of the Democratic Party and 1 Civil Choice MP.

According to the blog Agere per Formulas, gay and lesbian couples in a civil partnership would receive many of the same rights and obligations as marriage, including the possibility of adopting a partner's biological child. However, the bill would not allow gay couples to jointly adopt children.

Matteo Renzzi, the 38-year-old newly-elected leader of Italy's Democratic Party, spoke in favor of civil partnerships during a recent party assembly.

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