If the partners in a relationship do not want to get married in the traditional sense then they should be allowed to be recognized as being in a civil partnership and each spouse should be protected by the laws governing a civil partnership. Civil partnership should be defined as a living arrangement which grants the same legal rights as a marriage without the rigmarole of a wedding.
Yes, straight couples should be allowed civil partnerships. No matter if a couple is straight or gay, that couple should be allowed to determine if they wish to join in marriage or in civil partnership. The government should grant both types of partnerships to any couple and their sexual orientation should have no bearing.
Straight couples should be allowed to be in civil partnerships. A lot of straight couples now a days do not believe in religion, and marriage is a religious thing. They should not have to be forced to get married to get the same benefits that a civil partnership would provide.
Marriage is increasingly becoming undesirable to many people. High divorce rates make marriage a risky endeavor that can be quite expensive. Recognizing civil partnerships would allow people to enjoy the benefits of life mates without forcing them to marry them. It would also help to lower the divorce rate by giving people more options for pursuing couplehood.
I don't think there is any reason that straight couples should not be allowed in civil partnerships. It is a great way for straight couples to engage in a partnership that isn't marriage. For people that don't believe in marriage this is a great alternative to the religious version of marriage.
I see no reason not to allow it. If "civil partnerships" are a legally binding arrangement, then I see no reason to discriminate based on sexual preference. However, if "civil partnerships" are merely code for gay marriage as to not offend those opposed to gay marriage, then I say get rid of the term and just use marriage for all sexualities.
We should just reform the whole system to reflect modern times. The fact is that marriage has become a civil/secular institution. It is regulated by the government and provides certain benefits and legal privileges. Both gay and straight couples should be able to take advantage of this. The term marriage can be reserved for religious ceremonies if people still want them.
The whole issue with gay marriage is the "marriage" part of the term. Marriage is a religious ceremony, and I don't think it should have any government benefits at all. Gay and straight alike should be able to enter a civil union, or civil partnership which allows them tax and pension benefits, next of kin rights, and parental rights to the spouses children. This would take the religious tones out of the debate, and help us further toward equality.
It doesn't seem to make sense to allow straight couples to be allowed in civil partnerships, unless they are forming a corporation! The only reason civil partnerships comes up is as a solution to gay marriage. In fact, I believe that a marriage between heterosexuals is the ultimate civil partnership, so I see no need for an additional label nor can imagine what that might entail.