Argument: Civil unions are a positive step toward gay marriage
"Civil Unions. The Blankenhorn-Rauch peace proposal on marriage." Hunter of Justice. February 22, 2009: "The most important aspect of the Blankenhorn-Rauch proposal is that it implicitly establishes what I agree is the right threshold for moving out of gridlock: support for civil unions that are materially equal to marriage, paired with some degree of opt-outs for entities that are thoroughly religious. [...] LGBT rights advocates can still pursue access to marriage itself on equal terms, which I also support, since the difference in designation is obviously intended to function as a signaling device for communicating second-class status. But those battles would be fought against a background and baseline of having had the material benefits already equalized."
Paul Varnell. "For Civil Unions". Chicago Free Press. March 8, 2006: "1. By providing gays with the substance of marriage but not the name, states would be declaring gays and lesbians second-class citizens, as if their relationships are not worthy of the name 'marriage.' In short, civil unions relegate gays to 'the back of the bus.' [...] But that expression itself shows where the comparison with African-Americans breaks down. Currently gays have nothing. Are civil unions better than nothing? Emphatically, yes. During state segregation black southerners were at least able to get on the bus and ride to their destination. But not gays. Currently the bus doesn't even stop for gay couples—it just drives right on by. Our task is to get on the bus. Then we can argue about seating arrangements."