2011 ORS § 106.305¹
The Legislative Assembly finds that:
(1) Section 20, Article I of the Oregon Constitution, has always enshrined the principle that all citizens of this state are to be provided with equal privileges and immunities under the laws of the State. In addition, as provided in ORS 659A.006 (Declaration of policy against unlawful discrimination), it has long been the public policy of this state that discrimination against any of the citizens of this state is a matter of state concern that threatens not only the rights and privileges of the states inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state. These fundamental principles are integral to Oregons constitutional form of government, to its guarantees of political and civil rights and to the continued vitality of political and civil society in this state.
(2) The ability to enter into a committed, long-term relationship with another individual that is recognized not only by friends and family, but also by the laws of this state, is a significant and fundamental ability afforded to opposite-sex couples by the marriage laws of this state. Legal recognition of marriage by the state is the primary and, in a number of instances, the exclusive source of numerous rights, benefits and responsibilities available to married individuals under Oregon law. Marriage is limited to the union of one man and one woman by section 5a, Article XV of the Oregon Constitution.
(3) Many gay and lesbian Oregonians have formed lasting, committed, caring and faithful relationships with individuals of the same sex, despite long-standing social and economic discrimination. These couples live together, participate in their communities together and often raise children and care for family members together, just as do couples who are married under Oregon law. Without the ability to obtain some form of legal status for their relationships, same-sex couples face numerous obstacles and hardships in attempting to secure rights, benefits and responsibilities for themselves and their children. Many of the rights, benefits and responsibilities that the families of married couples take for granted cannot be obtained in any way other than through state recognition of committed same-sex partnerships.
(4) This state has a strong interest in promoting stable and lasting families, including the families of same-sex couples and their children. All Oregon families should be provided with the opportunity to obtain necessary legal protections and status and the ability to achieve their fullest potential.
(5) ORS 106.300 (Short title) to 106.340 (Certain privileges, immunities, rights, benefits and responsibilities granted or imposed) are intended to better align Oregon law with the values embodied in the Constitution and public policy of this state, and to further the states interest in the promotion of stable and lasting families, by extending benefits, protections and responsibilities to committed same-sex partners and their children that are comparable to those provided to married individuals and their children by the laws of this state.
(6) The establishment of a domestic partnership system will provide legal recognition to same-sex relationships, thereby ensuring more equal treatment of gays and lesbians and their families under Oregon law.
(7) The Legislative Assembly recognizes that the Oregon Constitution limits marriage to the union of one man and one woman. The Legislative Assembly does not seek to alter this definition of marriage in any way through the Oregon Family Fairness Act and recognizes that the Legislative Assembly cannot bestow the status of marriage on partners in a domestic partnership. The Legislative Assembly recognizes that numerous distinctions will exist between these two legally recognized relationships. The Legislative Assembly recognizes that the legal recognition of domestic partnerships under the laws of this state may not be effective beyond the borders of this state and cannot impact restrictions contained in federal law.
(8) ORS 106.300 (Short title) to 106.340 (Certain privileges, immunities, rights, benefits and responsibilities granted or imposed) do not require the performance of any solemnization ceremony to enter into a binding domestic partnership contract. It is left to the dictates and conscience of partners entering into a domestic partnership to determine whether to seek a ceremony or blessing over the domestic partnership and to the dictates of each religious faith to determine whether to offer or permit a ceremony or blessing of domestic partnerships. Providing recognition to same-sex partnerships through a domestic partnership system in no way interferes with the right of each religious faith to choose freely to whom to grant the religious status, sacrament or blessing of marriage under the rules or practices of that faith. [2007 c.99 §2]
Note: See note under 106.300 (Short title).