Some queers (myself included) grow up wanting to meet that one special person with whom we fall madly in love and spend the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, we live in a state where that love is largely diminished and marginalized by the systems set up to protect us. Until marriage discrimination finally ends, here are five above-the-law ways you can protect your partnership:
1. Domestic partnership laws grant same-sex couples hospital visitation rights, the ability to file jointly on insurance forms, and rights relating to the death of a partner. It's not marriage, but it's as close as you can get at this point. Though, once either of you steps foot out of the state, your plan may be fucked.
2. Estate planning provides basic protections for unregistered domestic partners and added protections for registered couples. Even if you are broke with no "estate" to speak of, this is an essential move. Wills, trusts, and partnership agreements enable couples to legally make decisions for one another, inherit one aother's property, and raise the other's children. Your own wishes, written in your own words, are generally pretty hard to dispute in court.
3. Setting up a "durable power of attorney" is important because a regular power of attorney becomes ineffective if its grantor becomes "incapacitated." If you go durable, that shit lasts until the grantor dies.
4. If you have kids, property, or joint business ventures in the mix, then things get more complicated. But as with most things, anything's possible with the right lawyer. Beth Allen Law specializes in this locally. Call (503) 241-3103 to get the ball rolling.
5. Lastly, you could always tell Oregon where to put it, move to a state that values your relationship, and pay taxes there happily ever after. Frankly, there are too many people living here now anyway.