Lawmakers in Rome on Wednesday approved the establishment of a civil union registry for gay and lesbian couples.

Rome city council also approved an amendment stating that gay couples' foreign marriages will be automatically recognized as civil unions in Rome, ANSA reported.

Before the start of Rome's 20th annual Gay Pride Parade in June, Mayor Ignazio Marino announced he would back plans for a civil unions registry.

Marino, a supporter of marriage equality, applauded the council's actions.

“Rome, by this example, hopes to help unlock the hesitations of legislators who for too many years have evaded full recognition of the legal and civil rights of all couples, regardless of sexual orientation,” Marino said in a statement.

With more than 3 million residents, Rome is considered one of the largest cities in the European Union. Within the nation's capital is Vatican City, an internationally recognized independent state.

(Related: Rome's Ignazio Marino registers marriages of 16 gay couples.)