Across the country, gays and lesbians are demanding the right to marry. Many conservative and religious institutions argue just as fervently against it because they feel it is an affront to the law of God. There really is no good compromise as long as marriage remains an institute of the state.
Here is an alternative. The very idea of marriage was religious to begin with. There is no mention anywhere in the Bible of the government becoming involved in marriage. Let’s apply that thinking today.
Legally recognized churches would have the right to determine marriage qualifications in their church (within limits, such as prohibiting children from marrying). Couples (heterosexual or same-sex) who marry in their church may, at their discretion, apply to the government for a civil union. Non-religious couples may also apply for a civil union with or without any church backing or approval. The state would legally recognize these civil unions for taxing and other purposes.
This, in my opinion, would place marriage where God intended it, as a religious commitment before God and the people. The state would get out of the marriage business, where it never belonged in the first place.