Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has said he opposes same-sex marriage and adoption rights for gay people.

“My thought is that the family should be made up of one man and one woman, and I consider it necessary that children should grow up with a mother and a father,” Mr Monti told a television interviewer late on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

“Parliament can find other solutions for other kinds of unions and cohabitations.”

Earlier this month, the Italian PM, who is backed by the Vatican for his re-election bid, said that LGBT rights issues, including marriage equality, should be decided by parliament, not his government, if he is successful.

The issue of equal marriage and adoption rose to the forefront of national debate last week after Italy’s highest court rejected an appeal by a father to stop his son living with his mother and her female partner, on grounds he would not have a balanced upbringing.

Mr Monti’s comments, likely to resonate with Italy’s socially conservative and devout Catholic voting bloc, came as his centrist grouping faltered in opinion polls.

Former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, a candidate in the election, claimed in December that his opponents had accused him of everything “except being gay and stealing money from Italians.” Prior to that, in March 2011, Mr Berlusconi declared that gay couples in Italy would never be allowed to marry or have adoption rights.

The Italian general election will take place on 24–25 February 2013

Gay couples in Italy are currently banned from adopting or entering into same-sex marriages.