February 14, 2008

Introducing Domestic Partnerships

Last May, we blogged about the passage of a bill granting same-sex Oregon couples many of the rights of heterosexual married couples. After a few hiccups in federal court, Oregon counties are now open to register same-sex couples as domestic partners (occasionally not the way the legislature intended).

Other than giving a boost to Oregon’s diamond and wedding supply retailers, what was the legislature’s intent with this bill? What are the rights of married people that a registered same-sex couple now also possesses? What is the difference between a same-sex domestic partnership and a heterosexual domestic partnership? What happens when same-sex or heterosexual domestic partnerships break up? If children are involved, how exactly would a court determine custody?

In the following posts, we’ll examine these questions and explain the differences between types of domestic partnerships. We’ll look at the rights married people receive automatically at the time of marriage, and how an unmarried couple (of any configuration) can duplicate those rights using other legal means.