Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti came out against both same-sex marriage and adoption, saying his country's parliament "can find other solutions for other kinds of unions and cohabitations."
Reuters quotes the premier as telling a television interviewer, "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."
Previously, Monti -- who is being backed by the Vatican in his bid for re-election -- said gay rights issues including marriage equality should be decided by the Italian parliament, not his government, Reuters reported earlier.
A number of the country's leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates said they were disappointed with Monti's statement, which they also described as being out of touch with Europe's otherwise progressive elements, Gazzetta del Sul reports.
"The statement is a bit too general for a leader who is inspired by Europe and aims to continue to lead the government of the country," Fabrizio Marrazzo, spokesman for Rome's Gay Center, is quoted by the publication as saying. "It seems that many politicians, including Monti, are more inclined to say 'no' to marriage and reaffirm that the family is only based on a heterosexual couple. In short, it is a way to discriminate against gay couples."