Civil union

Before becoming pope, Francis supported extending legal protections to gay couples in Argentina. Those comments are now putting the Vatican in a bind.
Though doctrine hasn't changed, queer U.S. Catholics say the pope's endorsement could be crucial in countries where same-sex relationships aren't recognized.
The ruling is being deemed a LGBTQ rights landmark in Hong Kong.
If a new bill passes, the country would become the first in formerly communist Europe to embrace marriage equality.
For some, the Church is the final bastion in the culture war to preserve the notion held by some of "traditional family." For others, marriage is merely a civil contract, in which organized religion should have no part.
By refusing marriage to same-sex couples, social conservatives are undermining traditional marriage more than lesbian brides and gay grooms ever could.
For a long time I had no interest in and was opposed to getting married. I believed that we didn't need the state to validate our relationship. I already knew its value and our commitment to each other. And then a funny thing happened: I lost my job and needed health insurance.
We're unequivocally in favor of marriage equality. But this lower "level" of commitment has been worth something in its own right to us -- not just for the health benefits, but for the ways it helped us see exactly what we wanted from our relationship.
If our legal system is founded upon the concept of freedom, equality, and protection, with the only deviations being for the reason of legitimate public purpose, what is the public purpose of banning same-sex marriages? Outside of individual opinion, I see none.