PARIS—Walking up the steps and out of the Métro station at Place Denfert-Rochereau at 1 p.m. on January 27 was like strolling by the Eiffel Tower—the grounds filled with people at a standstill. These weren't tourists, though. The rainbow flags, the pop music from 1999, and the placards all gave them away. "I shouldn't have to be here," one sign read, while on another was written: "Proud to be on the right side of history." Instead, they were the thousands of people who had begun gathering for a mass show of support for same-sex marriage and adoption.
On Tuesday, the French parliament is set to begin mulling a reform bill that would legalize gay marriage, fulfilling an election promise made by President François Hollande during his campaign against incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy that he won in May. Since then, the public has kept the matter in the news and on his radar by holding large and frequent protests for or against the issue, especially with the debate starting so soon. Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in opposition of the bill on January 13, but a recent poll by Ifop, an international marketing firm, found that 63 percent of France is in favor of same-sex unions.