Let's first understand that I am fully 100% behind all couples having the same legal rights, whether they are straight, gay, or something yet to be determined. But let's also get it straight that marriage is not a legal right, anymore than driving is a legal right. Under a legal right, everyone is entitled. But are the blind entitled to drive? No. So driving is not a legal right. And neither is marriage.
Allow me to explain - and offer a common sense solution to all this stupidity.
Marriage is a religious rite, not a state right. Marriage in its various forms was created by religions to recognize the union of two people in God's sight according to God's law. In recent times, states took it upon themselves to require licensing for the purpose of trying to prevent the spread of venereal disease by requiring testing. But when that was deemed unconstitutional, the state kept requiring licenses simply because they did not want to give up all that money, and they wanted a method of determining whether or not a couple had "shared" legal rights. Rather than create a state sanctioned method of bestowing such rights, they co-opted marriage for that purpose, in violation of the separation of church and state.
But licensing, as we saw with drivers, does not constitute a "right". But many think it does, even though that is not the case.
What many folks overlook is that this does not just concern gays and their rights. If gays are allowed to be "married", it robs religious people of their own right to hold marriage as an institution sanctified by God, and turns it into something less, santified by the state. So there are rights at stake for all concerned. And that is why we have the problem.
But no problem is without a solution, if folks want to put aside their prejudices and narrow-mindedness long enough to consider reasonable possibilities. No one has any right to say that gays should not be allowed to be couples, or to deny them any rights. Some may condemn the lifestyle, but no one has the right to judge them - particularly Christians, who are supposed to understand that you may hate the sin, but love the sinner. And to "judge not, lest ye be judged."
If everyone can accept that all people are entitled to their own happiness - even though we may not approve of their lifestyle - then the battle is half won.
So here is a possible solution: The state may only issue licenses for civil unions for ANY couple wishing to have the legal rights and protections under the law that is afforded to couples legally united. The state must never issue a marriage license - marriages are a religious rite, and under the 1st amendment, no state may legislate in any way to interfere with religion.
Now, everyone may obtain a license for a civil union. Those who are religious, belong to a church and can get their church to approve their union may consummate their union in the church, in the "sight of God". The civil union, sanctioned by the state, has now become a marriage also, sanctioned by God. In any other case where a church does not permit said marriage, or the couple does not wish to unite in a church (atheists, for example), they may still unite legally at the City Hall or Justice of the Peace. Any union consummated outside of a church shall be deemed a civil union only, and not a marriage, as marriage is a church-sponsored religious ceremony only. But all the legal aspects are identical.
The short take - All are civil unions. Only those who wish to marry in a church, and are allowed by the church to do so according to church doctrine, may then elevate their civil union into a marriage. It's a lot like education - we are all entitled to high school. If we CHOOSE to go on to college, and are willing to pay the price, then we can elevate our education. If we do not go to college, we are not entitled to a college degree. It's that simple. There would be unions that are not sanctioned by a church (civil union), and unions that are sanctioned by a church (marriage).
So, gays and straights would all be entitled to civil unions, with all the same rights. But only those willing to adhere to the tenets of their church may elect to take the next step into marriage, with the church's permission. And if a church allows gay marriage, so be it - since marriage belongs only to the church, the church may decide what their doctrine permits. If it permits gays to marry, and the gays belong to that church, they may be married.
Whether or not the Good Lord looks fondly upon such marriages is, again, between the Lord and His children. It is not for us to judge. But married or not, santified by God or just the state, we are all entitled to the same legal rights. Civil unions, complete with all the legal rights and protections, and sanctified by the state would, indeed, be a human right that we would all be entitled to, provided unions are still limited to two consenting adults. Marriage, however, would be a religious ritual for the express purpose of uniting people sanctified by the church, in the eyes of God, and would have no legal status or "extra" rights other than any provided by the church for its parishioners. In other words, marriage would be an option available to those who qualify for it, like a college degree, or a low-interest credit card.
Simple. Reasonable. But most importantly, it is fair to all, and preserves human rights without sacrificing our personal religious freedoms or beliefs.