Friday, May 27, 2005

Salem Solution?

Oregon is still trying to dance its way to a same-sex-marriage solution. The most recent effort, House Bill 3476 gets a hearing next week.

It would provide some important rights to couples, short of permitting marriage. The gist of it is that if you cannot legally marry, you can contract to agree to such rights as:

  • Make funeral arrangements
  • Inherit Property
  • Visit in emergency rooms
In operation, the resulting law would require the state to create a contract form and permit such agreements among those who meet the simple requirements:
  1. Each party must be at least 18 years of age;
  2. Each party may not be married or a party to another reciprocal beneficiary relationship;
  3. The parties must be prohibited from marrying each other under ORS chapter 106;
  4. Each party must consent to the reciprocal beneficiary relationship, and the consent of a party may not be obtained by force, duress or fraud; and
  5. Each party must sign a declaration of reciprocal beneficiary relationship as provided in section 5 of this 2005 Act.
While mostly for gay couples, the bill provides examples, "... such individuals (as) two individuals who are related to each other, such as a widowed mother and her unmarried son, or two unrelated adults of the same gender."

In a state like Massachusetts where marriage has always been a civil contract legally, this seems harmless enough. I'll watch the Oregon reaction though.

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