Thank you in advance for you valuable time and attention, I will try to be brief. There are fewer people by the day that refuse to understand that equality is an unconditional birthright as an American citizen. The fundamental freedoms provided for us in the Bill of Rights declare we are free to follow what path we choose for ourselves so long as this path does not harm others or their property. It is every one's right to their own belief as to why God made us who we are, and what we should be doing while on Earth. Being able to live based on that belief is another inalienable right. Some people would say that simple majority gives them the right to intervene into the lives of others and dictate what others can or cannot do based on their beliefs, and this precedent is seen in other forms of discrimination from our history. It is time we lay rest to this dinosaur of our past and provide a more positive foundation for future generations by not allowing prejudice to continue as law. Watering down civil rights for a class of people, or delaying, and graduating rights only perpetuates this problem and the social division felt. People who feel the need to force their will upon others are not worthy of leading such a diverse and rich culture as our own. Only those with a healthy respect for individuality should be in charge of creating policy for all. It is bravery that is needed to take action on defense of freedom when fear has been used to whip the masses into the frenzy we see. Sometimes leadership needs to stand on higher ground and provide the light to see by.
Since I have started advocating for gay equality it has occurred to me that whatever the government decides to do has a great impact on what the citizens think and act on. The word "Marriage" has a strong meaning to traditionalists, yet to deny it to a group of people based solely on their sexual orientation seems to be government approved discrimination. Since you are trying to create a state of complete equality, and since the citizens will argue over the nature of this word, My suggestion is you leave it up to each couple to decide for themselves what to call their own contract. You can have both terms on the same application, give them the right to choose for themselves, and circumnavigate around this future political firestorm. Perhaps in this way people will start to understand that unconventional does not mean unequal in the eyes of our government.
Thank you and may God guide you in your decision.