<Rant Category="People are Stupid">
A proposal: strike from the body of law everything concerning the legal entity of "marriage", and replace it with an equivalent entity called "civil union". Allow all persons currently permitted to officiate a legal marriage to officiate a civil union, including clergy of recognized faiths, members of the judiciary, and others. Explicitly recognize that the State has a vested interest in the stability and happiness of its population, and that one way to recognize and honor commitments intended to bring such about is to, well, recognize them.
Let the religious reich have "marriage", if everyone is so hot and bothered about it. It's just a fucking word. If they want it to mean something sancrosact, something sacred and inviolate, with deep and specific meanings and regulations in their church - fine. Good. No problem; I never asked them to honor my marriage, unless it was on a personal (rather than official) basis.
But stop it with the silly "Defense of Marriage" acts. While it is in the reasonable interests of the state to recognize and support relationships of the nature commonly found in marriages (well, the good ones), it is NOT in the purview of the state to regulate that only one religion's view of that state is acceptable. The point of a separation between church and state is not to remove God (or Goddess, or Bob) from the public eye, but to ensure that exactly this sort of shit doesn't happen. I don't give a crap about whether the Pledge of Allegiance says "under God", in the end - I just don't say that part, and my conscience is soothed. I do care, very much, about the fact that it is probably illegal for one of my spouses to try to (legally) marry *anyone*, due to gender issues, and that people have had decades-long marriages annulled because some people abide by rules that have nothing to do with the professed basis of their religion (love) and everything to do with the actual basis of any organized religion older than a few years (control over power).
Give them the word; I think secular and religious meanings both have equal claim, but we have a better and clearer term for the secular, so I'm fine with using it. Detach the religious hysteria of marriage from the secular view of recognizing a commitment to a stable relationship. Let me have a civil union with anyone who will agree to it (for that matter, let me have it with both of the people who would currently agree to it, dammit). We can decide what 'stable relationship' means, and what benefits should be given by the state to encourage such, if any, but only once the irrationality of religion has been removed from the debate can it be a reasonable discussion - because there is far, far too much history and meaning tied up in the other term to permit such.