It seems to me that the entire debate is about semantics. Does anyone really care who a person choses to have in the hospital with them? Does anyone really care to whom a person can leave their property when they die? Does anyone really care whose signatures are on the lease? Or a checking account? Or tax forms? So why is this an issue? It is an issue solely because of using the term "marriage." "Marriage" has, among its connotations, the Judeo-Christian interpretation [note: I am not saying that ALL churches interpret it in this manner, only that a significant number do so] that it is a union of a man and women instituted by God. I, for example, would still be married even if the government decreed that "marriage" constituted two men and a chicken. I was not married by the government, nor can the government in any way make me unmarried, all they can do is make me a different legal entity. Yet the specter of the state interfering with a religious belief raises quite reasonable and justifiable fears.
Therefore, we can solve the issue by striking the term "marriage" and all of its derivatives from government documents and replacing it with the term "civil union." A civil union, in this sense, could very well be a male and a female--since it is a legal term, not a religious one. The definition of marriage should be decided by the church (and I am quite willing to let every church decide for itself how it will define marriage for its members). The civil union, and its legal consequences should be decided by the government. It would be a separation of church and state, but removing the state from the church's sphere, as Solzhenitsyn said, "Separate church and state properly and do not touch the church; you will not lose a thing thereby." There, that's the rebuttal, now sit down and shut up.