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
- Each party must be at least 18 years of age;
- Each party may not be married or a party to another reciprocal beneficiary relationship;
- The parties must be prohibited from marrying each other under ORS chapter 106;
- 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
- Each party must sign a declaration of reciprocal beneficiary relationship as provided in section 5 of this 2005 Act.
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.