The fight for the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. often seems hopeless. There are bright spots, of course; specifically Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington D.C., and now New York. Of course, these are only 6 states and one whatever-Washington D.C.-is, there are still 44 to go.
Here's the thing though: the religious right will never, I repeat NEVER let gay marriage become federal law. They have a lot of money and they will use every last cent of it to ensure that they never have to marry gays in their churches. And guess what? At the risk of offending my gay or non-religious friends (I don't really care about offending the religious ones, I'm tired of walking on eggshells around you people), they shouldn't have to. Just like religion has no place in government, government has no place in religion. Marriage is a religious institution, and should be treated as such. The government has no right sticking their nose into the churches' business. That is a big part of what the Establishment Clause, which is what people are referring to when they speak of separation of church and state, is about.
I say, give the religious their marriages. Let them have their big expensive ceremonies and make their pact with their god. Fine. Be my guest. You need no blessing from the government to do so. No legal requirements for a religious ceremony. BUT. Do not expect any rights or special treatment as a result of this ceremony. Marriage must be taken out of the legal language and replaced by "civil union." If you want all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities currently afforded by marriage, you MUST get a legal civil union. This would solve the problem for both sides: the government cannot deny anyone their rights due to race, religion, sexual preference, yada yada, so anyone who wants to can get a civil union, and if you want to have ceremony, nobody can stop you. Churches can marry whoever they deem fit, and if your church won't marry you, then you're in the wrong church. And if you want both? Why the hell not?
Government and religion are two separate institutions, and should be treated as such. Marriage belongs to the church, civil unions belong to the government, and both sides can stay out of the other side's business. Endow civil unions with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities currently afforded by marriage, and put an end to this silly bickering.