The religious and conservative will have to console themselves with hope that the protection of religious liberties - another fundamental right - will be secured in any amendment to the Marriage Act. Why hasn't that apparently bullet-proof civil rights principle of equal treatment before the law been enough to carry the day? But the states are continuing to cling to this idea that marriage has to be about the ability to reproduce. Religious Rite or Civil Right? Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, the more robust, rigorous and reliable information that is publicly available, the better. I disagree.
There are, of course, the legal, property, and financial benefits of being married.
Now that gay couples in committed relationships are able to formalize their unions as marriages, they may help improve marriage overall by providing more positive role models. It's no surprise that opponents of gay marriage frequently complain that such marriages would undermine the institution of marriage. This is perhaps one of the most important and fundamental arguments for opponents of gay marriage.
Some cleave to this ideal, and, as theologian John Milbank puts it, find something "monstrous about the state even claiming to have the power by law to change the definition of a natural and cultural reality which has historically preceded the existence of the state itself.