This point is reiterated well in this column in the Chapel Hill News by Michael Cotter:
All consenting adults, of whatever gender, should be able to enjoy the benefits of civil laws governing financial and family relationships. All such relationships would be legalized by a justice of the peace or other secular official approved by the state and be called "civil unions." Those whose religious beliefs require that the partners be of opposite sexes would be free to sanctify such unions in a way acceptable to them, but that should not be a requirement to enjoy the benefits and obligations imposed by the secular legal system. The term "marriage" would be reserved for the optional religious ceremonies which, depending on the denomination, could be celebrated by same-sex couples as well. In that way, believers can have their union blessed according to their belief, while non-believers enjoy the legal protections that a contract between consenting adults confers.
Most European countries and many others whose legal systems are based on the Napoleonic Code or other civil law systems already require civil unions, with a religious ceremony optional. Although to date only seven countries extend the civil contract to same-sex couples, others can do so simply by amending existing legal codes.Enough is enough. Click here for more.