A demonstration Saturday in Rome to protest a proposed bill that would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions in Italy attracted tens of thousands of people.

According to The Guardian, the rally, dubbed “family day,” was backed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Italy is the only major Western country that offers gay couples no recognition.

The Senate began debating the gay-inclusive civil unions bill on Thursday.

The following day, the Italian Bishops Conference said that it was concerned about the “process under way of putting marriage and civil unions on the same level – with the introduction of an alternative to the family.”

Last week, Pope Francis reiterated the church's opposition to marriage equality.

The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation in February.