"It would work like this: Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage. But there would be a condition: Washington would recognize only those unions licensed in states with robust religious-conscience exceptions, which provide that religious organizations need not recognize same-sex unions against their will. The federal government would also enact religious-conscience protections of its own. All of these changes would be enacted in the same bill." David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch in The New York Times
I largely agree with this approach even if they seem to downplay the differences the two sides have with respect to this issue. Gays living in states that offer them no legal recognition obviously won't be treated as couples unless this plan is modified to include recognition granted in gay-friendly municipalities as well but we have to work with what we can get, not with what is desirable.
William Saleton briefly makes the case for gay marriage in an op-ed column as well. I agree with Saleton on the substance but have to agree with Rauch and Blankenhorn on the politics. Gay marriage won't be happening anytime soon. We should take what we can get.
It should be noted, however, that this sensible plan was put forward by two people who, in spite of their differences on gay marriage, have no objection to homosexuality and the rights of gay Americans in general. Expect the religious right and the Catholic Church to push back as much as possible. A U.S. Representative Sally Kerns (R-Oklahoma) or Utah State Senator Chris Buttars would never sign onto to this grand compromise. They also too easily downplay the arguments we are still having with respect to abortion rights. I don't think that the religious conservatives have signed onto any grand bargain on that issue either.
speaking of the "threat" of gay marriage, Rick Sincere has this humorous take story concerning a straight woman from Indiana.