A bill which would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions in Italy was presented to parliament on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, the bill was briefly presented in the Senate.

“We are finally here with a civil union bill that is very strong,” said Senator Monica Cirinna, who authored the bill.

“It is not exactly equal to other marriages, which I would have preferred, but it is a bill that recognizes all social rights,” she told Reuters.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi first pledged to push for civil unions in 2013.

Italy remains the only major country in the West to not formally recognize the unions of gay couples.

If approved, the legislation would grant unmarried couples, gay or straight, most of the rights and obligations of marriage. Adoption would only be possible in cases where a partner dies, a provision that some conservative lawmakers oppose.

The Vatican has previously stated its opposition to the bill and has warned of protests if the bill becomes law.