Marriage is, first and foremost, a religious ritual. Civil unions are a legal ritual. Same-sex partners will receive all the legal benefits of marriage without infringing on the religious ideology that maintains marriage is reserved for a man and a woman.
Marriage is carried out on religious grounds by religious figures. The eligibility for marriage should, therefore, be guided by religious teachings. A civil union is one way of accommodating the legal recognition of a same-sex partnership without defying religious teachings.
Marriages are not religious. They are both legal and expressive. In expressive terms, people wed to express their love and commitment to each other in front of witnesses. They show their love and expect society to acknowledge it. To deny gay people the right to marry is to deny them the right to express themselves in the same way. Additionally, many democracies demand a secular government. Therefore, religious arguments about marriage should not influence legislative practices or prohibit gay marriage.
[P1] Marriage is a religious ritual. [P2] Civil parnerships are a legal ritual. [P3] Civil partnerships grant same-sex couples legal rights, without offending religious belief. [P4] Therefore, civil partnerships or unions are the legislative outcome.
Rejecting the premises
[Rejecting P1] Marriage is not merely a religious ritual. It is also an expressive ritual. [Rejecting P4] In secular democracies, religion should not influence the legislature.