In France more and more heterosexual couples are signing a civil union pact of solidarity in lieu of getting hitched. The law was passed in 1999 to give gay couples a way to legalize their unions under French law, which will not allow them to marry. Now the ratio is 2:1, marriages to civil unions among heterosexuals in France. In 2008 there were 140,000 couples united by the pact, and 92% of them were hetero. The pact allows couples to file joint income tax returns like marriage, and are easily dissolved, unlike marriage.
I suspect that the same thing would happen here that is happening in France. Because there are plenty of people here in the US who are married for tax or insurance reasons, and NOT because they want to be holy in the eyes of some church. All the atheists would choose civil union. And probably the Buddhists too. It would be interesting to see....
Of course, here in the US many vocal gays want "marriage" and in so emphasizing that word, sabotage their own cause. If gays were uniformly willing to accept civil union as plenty good enough, it would be easier to attain, and quite desirable to some populations who currently are not speaking up in the debate. What if...what if....the atheists and Buddhists and gays all the others who don't want to be bound in holy matrimony by some church could all band together and ask for a non-bible version of legal and respectable commitment to another? Just imagining...