Can A Straight Couple Get A Domestic Partnership?
A straight couple cannot get a registered domestic partnership as defined by Oregon law. Under state law, a domestic partnership is a civil contract between individuals of the same sex who are at least eighteen years old and capable of contract. At least one of the partners in a domestic partnership must be a resident of Oregon. An opposite-sex couple may have an unregistered domestic partnership, in which they cohabitate and share their assets and debts. However, just as Oregon does not recognize cohabitation or common-law marriage, an unregistered domestic partnership does receive the legal recognition, protections, or remedies as a registered domestic partnership or legal marriage.
Under Oregon's domestic relations statutes, straight couples have always had the option to get married. The domestic partnership in Oregon was established because the state constitution banned same-sex marriages. Because the ban was inconsistent with Oregon's public policy against discrimination, the state enacted the Oregon Family Fairness Act in 2008 and recognized domestic partnerships.
In 2014, Oregon legally recognized same-sex marriages. However, it still maintained the option for same-sex couples to have a registered domestic partnership. The law has not been amended to confer the option of such domestic partnership to straight couples.
Unmarried straight couples may take other steps to ensure that they have rights to each other property, finances, insurance and estate. Unmarried straight couples can draft contracts giving each other access, ownership, possession or authority over each other's assets. While estate planning, the parties can devise property under a will. The couple can make each other beneficiaries to life insurance policies or trusts. Although the options are not based on the couple's relationship status, state law may uphold them based on other state laws concerning contracts, probate, insurance, and property conveyance.