Italy has been a major exception among Western nations in its lack of recognition for same-sex couples.
This less progressive — and less controversial — version is expected to easily pass in the lower house of Parliament.
'What is there to fear from two people who love each other?' adds Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Thousands turn out to protest a proposed civil unions bill that would finally offer some legal recognition to Italy's same-sex couples.
Demonstrators flooded the streets in cities across Italy, urging their government to legally recognize unions for same-sex couples.