The problem is, if it is left up to the states, I'm not sure they all would go ahead and institute civil unions for homosexuals. Many of the more conservative states have passed laws that are quite frankly anti-homosexual - particularly in the area of the adoption of children by homosexuals. I would have nothing against a federal discriminatory law that mandates civil unions between homosexuals, and requires the same BASIC rights enjoyed by heterosexual marriages. I would, though, oppose using the term "marriage".
As to your last paragraph, homosexual unions should be a concept we all endorse - there may be disagreement on the "marriage" issue, but there is no justification for withholding rights from a homosexual couple that are enjoyed by a heterosexual couple. The fact that I, and others, consider homosexuality morally wrong should not be an issue when it comes to people's rights. I consider adultery and promiscuity morally wrong too, but that doesn't meanpeople that engage in those vices should be treated like second class citizens.
As a sidebar, I will repeat an opinion I stated earlier - whether it is homosexuals or heterosexuals, it is all the same to me - I do not support certain rights, such as insurance and social security, to couples that are not formally and legally bound, and that includes unmarried heterosexual couples, no matter how long they have lived together. I do not believe it is right to grant a couple the benefits associated with a legal committment if they have not made that committment. Just my little quirk...
Faceman it seems like you and I are on the same page.
Marriage to me IS more than just legal rights. To take it down to that level, to me, is offensive. I consider my marriage to my husband to be much more than a tax write off and social security (which we probably won't ever see the benefit of anyways). My marriage is much deeper than that.
However, I do not think withholding those rights to tax write offs and other benefits to gay couples, who have professed their relationship, is right. It is wrong to do so. Your right to things provided by the government shouldn't be based on your orientation.
I truly believe the reason religions so strongly oppose the "marriage" or gays is because it goes directly against what THEIR beliefs are. To them, marriage is more than a tax write off, or other benefits. They aren't debating benefits, they are debating MORALS. The Catholic church doesn't recognize courthouse marriages between heterosexuals either, unless the couple gets a go ahead and does an extensive marriage counseling course first, and has a good, legit reason for doing so. I had to get a variance of sorts for my marriage, since my husband is Catholic and I wanted to get married in my protestant church. We had to do the Catholic prep to be recognized in the Catholic church as a married couple. They have a way of doing things, it is completely separate from the legal system. Keep in mind the Catholic church is not only in America, but everywhere, and they aren't going to change around American laws. Even if the gay "marriage" is passed, they still won't recognize those marriages.
And while we are on the topic of marriage, to me it is bad enough when someone gets married just for benefits, or when they don't take it seriously, even when they are heterosexual. Look at the celebrities for goodness sake. Marriage in this country has lost its meaning, and it has nothing to do with the gay movement. It has everything to do with people not knowing what commitment and love means.
Oh and another thing, I know someone mentioned being persecuted or made fun of for being homosexual. I do believe that is wrong. It is not right. But keep in mind that it is not exclusive. Heterosexuals get made fun of, or are given dirty looks as well. Maybe not for the same things, but for other things. Me, I'm pregnant,and young. I'm married, sure, but that still doesn't stop the weird looks and comments I get. I'm treated like an alien sometimes on my campus, even if people don't mean to. Heck one of my doctors (who I don't see anymore) wouldn't even acknowledge my husband when I went for a prenatal appointment, I assume it is because she, like other, believes I got "knocked up" and then married the guy to save face. That stuff isn't true, but people judge me because I got married, and wanted a family a lot earlier than others do.
My point being, people judge. If you think that your alone in this, your not. Somebody, somewhere, will always find something to not like about you. How YOU respond and react is what really matters. When I get those looks, I simply remember who I am and what I stand for, knowing I have someone who loves me to support me. That should be good enough, regardless of what others think.