The Senate in Italy today (February 25, 2016) approved a bill allowing civil unions for same-sex and heterosexual couples, according to the BBC website.
The motion was backed by a 173 to 71 vote after a deal was reached to remove a provision allowing gay adoptions and other clauses, thus watering-down the bill.
Italy is the only major Western European country with no civil partnerships or gay marriage.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi -- who had promised to pass a civil unions bill -- described today's vote as "historic." However, he had to agree to remove a gay adoption provision opposed by several lawmakers due to pressure from the Catholic Church.