Tens of thousands of gay marriage supporters marched through the streets of Paris on Sunday.

Police estimated 60,000 joined the planned march in support of the government's plans to legalize marriage and adoption for gay and lesbian couples.

Opposition from conservatives and religious groups has been surprisingly strong – 100,000 protested the marriage reform last month. And a second march in Paris is planned for January 13.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who is openly gay, joined Sunday's march, where demonstrators waved rainbow flags and placards which read “liberty, equality, dignity” and “hate is not a family value,” Reuters reported.

The Socialist government of Francois Hollande has sent the proposed plan to lawmakers for debate. The National Assembly is expected to start debate on the legislation on January 29, and a vote could come by mid-2013.

If approved – and most believe the government will enact the marriage reform – France would become the 12th nation to legalize such unions. Of the nations which have legalized marriage equality, none rival the economic and diplomatic influence of France.