Italy's Premier Matteo Renzi is bowing to fierce opposition to a legislative measure that would let gays adopt the biological children of their partners.

A Democratic Party official, Lorenzo Guerini, said party senators proposed removing the heavily-contested adoption language from the proposed bill to allow civil unions, but not marriage, for homosexual couples. Such unions would carry benefits like receiving deceased partners' pensions and official registry of such unions.

Pro-Vatican lawmakers in his party as well as a key coalition center-right partner had vowed to vote against the bill unless the adoption provision was jettisoned.

Debate and voting on the revamped bill could start later this week.

Renzi had said earlier he might resort to a confidence vote to close ranks in his squabbling coalition and hasten the bill's passage.