[The following commentary continues our ongoing conversation on "Reconsidering Marriage." Read Clayton's first two editorials "Reconsidering Marriage" and "Rick Warren Comes Out for Gay Rights," and additional commentary by our bloggers Azariah Southworth ("Show Rick Some Love") and Joe Perez ("What, was Jeremiah Wright busy?").]
The LGBT community is mistaken about the fight for marriage equality. Many of us equate the battle for equal partnership rights with the war for equal respect and recognition of our relationships, and the two goals are not the same.
If Rev. Rick Warren - arguably the most influential Protestant minister in the world - is willing to come out in public and say we should have equal partnership rights, we have won a significant battle. The fact that he does not afford our relationships with equal respect and recognition in his church is not what we are trying to change here, but that is the real reason why we have attacked him since: "He compared our love to incest and pedophilia! He won't let gays join his church!"
We all have different paradigms through which we interpret the world; that is why Gandhi said, "There are as many religions as there are people." So what is Warren's paradigm that explains how he can say at the same time that he supports gay equal partnership rights and also declare that to him gay marriage is the same as "having a brother and sister together and call that marriage" or "one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage?"
If we look at the world through Warren's eyes, here's what I think we see:
Slightly more than 50 percent of households are headed by unmarried people, some single and some partnered, and almost a third of children in the United States are being raised in unmarried homes. About 40 percent of unmarried partner households, queer and heterosexual, have children under 18 years of age living in them. Many aging baby-boomers will spend a significant part of their senior years alone. Many will live with relatives or friends in non-conjugal relationships. Increasingly, both married and unmarried adults are serving as primary caregivers for aging and infirm parents or other relatives. Many people live in extended-family households. Needless to say, LGBT people in each of these categories often face the added burdens of homophobia and transphobia.
Requiring marriage as a way to access legal recognition and the economic support of a caring society is not a viable option for millions of households. Consider, for example, these kinds of families: senior citizens living together or serving as one another's caregivers, partners, or constructed families; close friends or siblings who live together in long-term, committed, non-conjugal relationships, serving as each other's primary support; extended families living under one roof (a practice common in many immigrant communities). 
Same-sex couples and these other diverse, non-traditional partnerships would benefit greatly from the rights and responsibilities currently only associated with heterosexual, conjugal marriage, but, while Rick Warren recognizes that these families would benefit from equal partnership rights, he rejects that those partnerships be called "Marriage."
This means that in Warren's paradigm, "having a brother and sister together and calling that marriage" doesn't necessarily mean incest. This is why he declared that he has never equated same-sex couples with incest or pedophilia - it wasn't what he meant.
The LGBT community should see beyond our own narrow issues and build a broad coalition, including Warren, to call for a broader definition of family so that marriage, for all who choose it, is only one option among many, not the only way people can access essential government protections and supports like unmarried partner access to health insurance, second-parent adoption, and survivor benefits for Social Security and pensions.
We should take this rare opportunity to fight for legislation to provide access to a flexible set of household benefits and options that are separated from the requirement of conjugal or marital relationship.
What form does victory take? On December 30, Ali Shams and Kaelan Housewright, two straight California students, introduced a ballot measure to eliminate marriage from State legislation, guaranteeing everyone equal Domestic Partnership rights and voiding Prop 8. If we can relinquish the word "marriage" to non-governmental (i.e. sacred) recognition, we have the chance to help millions of households by pursuing civil unions for all. LGBT people will no longer be seen primarily as a self-interested constituency, but as partners in a larger, multiracial struggle for social and economic justice for all.
I believe we will eventually win the war for equal respect and recognition of our relationships, but let's go ahead and win the fight for equal partnership rights in the meantime.
 This article includes quotes and statistics from KAY WHITLOCK's "The Perfect Storm: Why Progressives Must Reframe the Narrow Terms of Marriage Politics," PEACEWORK MAGAZINE, April 2007.