A centre-right Italian politician proposes to introduce a bill this week that would recognise the civil rights of gay couples in same-sex relationships.

Giancarlo Galan is confident that he will receive support from colleagues within ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party.

“In the PdL, there are many who think like me…Then there are others who do not want to expose themselves, but I have confidence”, Mr Galan, chairman of the House Committee on Culture, said in a television interview on Monday.

Mr Galan said that he supports the rights of same-sex parents to adopt, but added that he won’t include the measure in his proposed bill.

Sandro Bondi, a senior member of the PdL, spoke in defence of extending basic rights to gay couples over the weekend, saying: “I just do not understand why Catholics have to do battle against those who call for the recognition of unions between homosexuals.”

Italy remains weak when it comes to LGBT rights.

At present, gender identity is not a part of official anti-discrimination legislation.

Same-sex marriages and civil partnerships are currently not recognised and same-sex couples do not have adoption rights.

The country also has no protections against discrimination in public, in the provision of goods and services or against hate speech.