This thread is from a long time ago, and so things may have changed. I was recently able to create a Google account without a GMail account. I actually used my company email address and created a Google account for it. I was then able to log into the Android Market (... sorry, Google Play) with my work email address and password without ever having to make a Gmail account. Didn't require a GMail account at all.
Link to associate a non-gmail account to a Google Account: