A gay Italian Governor has said that he would like to have the “right” to get married to his partner in front of his “community and family.”

Speaking on Italian radio, Governor of Puglia, Nichi Vendola, said he had lived with his Canadian partner for years, and that he would like to get married to him.

He said: “I’m still in love with my companion and I’m thinking of crowning my love for him in a ceremony in front of my community and family,” he told Italian radio. “I’m in love with him and I’d like to have the right to a ceremony”.

The gay rights leader has, in the past, said that he would like to adopt a child, Ansa reports. Equal marriage and adoption are currently illegal in Italy

Governor Vendola leads the leftist SEL party, and is the chief ally of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which leads in polls ahead of elections next month.

No main contenders in the upcoming Italian election support equal marriage or adoption. The closest is PD leader, Pier Puigi Bersani, who is in favour of legalising civil unions.

Earlier in January, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said he opposed 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.

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 upcoming 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.