Opponents of gay marriage in Minnesota are considering countering a push for marriage with civil unions or reciprocal benefits.

The Minnesota Post reported that some Republicans are privately considering those options.

“I think there would be some people, Republicans, interested in some alternatives,” said Tom Prichard, executive director of the Minnesota Family Council, which last year backed an unsuccessful attempt to amend the state constitution to limit marriage to heterosexual unions.

Prichard said his group would oppose legislation creating unions which are “marriage by another name.” He sounded more receptive to reciprocal benefits.

“It would cover any two people who cannot marry but who care for each other,” Prichard said.

An anonymous Republican advisor to Minnesotans United for All Families dismissed talk of anything less than marriage.

“Five or ten years ago, that would have been extraordinarily welcome,” said the advisor. “The genius of that kind of move would be to allow more moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats to say we support it.”

Senator Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark, both Democrats, are expected to introduce marriage equality bills as early as this week.