Earlier today, Italy’s parliament voted 369-193 in favor of same-sex civil unions.
Before this vote, Italy was the only country in Western Europe with no legal form of recognition for same-sex couples.
While the new law includes tax, inheritance and welfare protections for same-sex couples, according to The Telegraph, they will not be able to adopt their partner’s biological children.
"The glass is half-full," Gabriele Piazzoni, national secretary of the Arcigay organization, said in a statement. "The text contains the recognition and protection many gays and lesbians have been waiting for all their lives... (but) everything this law has failed to guarantee leaves a bitter taste."
The country has lagged behind its European neighbors in LGBT equality because of resistance from the Catholic Church hierarchy.
The Catholic Church does not perform or recognize same-sex marriages, yet the Catholic laity have been increasingly vocal in their support for marriage equality. Lay organizations, including Catholics for Marriage Equality, played a key role in the United States during the 2012 elections, and have maintained an active presence since then.
There are currently only 20 countries that have full marriage equality.