Argument: Civil unions can be pushed to include equal benefits as marriage
Paul Varnell. "For Civil Unions". Chicago Free Press. March 8, 2006: "3. Civil unions in other states, unlike those in Connecticut and Vermont, would probably include a smaller number of benefits and entitlements than marriage, making them far from equal. But however hard this is to swallow, here again the point is to get a process started. Even if lessor variations on civil unions offer minimal benefits (e.g., hospital visitation), it is almost inevitable that as legislators and the public become comfortable with gay couples in formalized relationships, they will feel more comfortable adding additional benefits over time. [...] That model has worked well in California where gay couples have obtained more and more benefits with each legislative session. It has also worked in several European countries that have gradually added benefits, in some cases resulting in marriage itself. Most U.S. surveys show majority support for providing some benefits for gay couples. So let us work on obtaining those and then go on to others as the public comfort grows. If you cannot get all the justice you want, take what justice you can get and then work for more."
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "Personally, I’ve always thought that civil unions should have exactly the same rights as marriage. I don’t think you should discriminate against anybody."