Since 2008, Oregon has offered domestic partnerships, which provide the same legal rights and responsibilities associated with marriage.

To qualify for a domestic partnership, couples: 

  • Must be of the same sex
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must have at least one member who is a resident of Oregon
  • Must be mentally competent to contract
  • Must not be first cousins or closer in blood relation
  • Must be unmarried/not registered as domestic partners of other people

How Does the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage Affect Partnerships in Oregon?

Same-sex marriage became legal in the entire United States in 2015. Currently, there are two options for same-sex couples: a marriage or a domestic partnership. The Oregon Public Health Department states that they “anticipate that a dissolution of the ORDP [Oregon Registered Domestic Partnership] will not be required if the partners want to be married.”  In other words, a couple in a domestic partnership in Oregon does not need to dissolve their partnership before getting married.

What Rights Are Associated with Oregon Domestic Partnerships?

Rights available to domestic partners in Oregon include:

  • The right to automatically inherit property from a partner if they die without a will, in the same manner as a spouse
  • The right to visit a partner in the hospital
  • The right to sue for the wrongful death of a partner
  • The right to file joint state and federal tax returns
  • The same testimonial privileges that married couples enjoy

However, domestic partnerships in Oregon do not confer all of the rights and responsibilities that married couples enjoy on a federal or interstate level. Entering into a domestic partnership may limit federal benefits and the partnership may not be recognized in all other states or countries.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Although domestic partnerships and marriage are very similar in Oregon, there are still some differences between the two. An Oregon lawyer can answer questions that you may have with regard to the differences and assist you in obtaining or dissolving either arrangement.