After a protracted legislative battle, Italy's parliament approved same-sex civil unions and gave some rights to unmarried opposite-sex couples on May 11.
With the development, Italy is the last major Western country to legally recognize gay and lesbian couples.
The Catholic Church was among those opposing the measure.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised to make gay rights a priority when he took office in early 2014. However, the bill was among the most contested of measures he pushed through parliament.
In addition, the new measure ensures that cohabiting unmarried coupleswhether same- or opposite-sexget the right to be treated as each other's next of kin if one partner takes ill, dies or is imprisoned. Moreover, couples may also have the right to try to claim alimony at the end of a relationship.