Marriage contracts, and the ability to enter into such agreements can be messy, strange, or prohibited by the state. This is rather confounding, except it comes back to religious opinions and fear of unique personal choices. Funny that we ask government for permission and a "license" to have a relationship anyway. Some do... and some do not... sometimes... many times!
Anyone can Make a Contract
The right to enter into a contract is a basic right of every competent individual. This could be traditional, such as a man-woman marriage, or a parent with their child, or with neighbors, or other connected associates. If we get on our morals high-horse and start trying to force tradition of sexual choices, we find that this has been a dismal failure, when you consider divorces, annulments after children, one-night stands, serial live-ins, and various fetish followers. Legislation has never really controlled relations between the sexes effectively.
Anyone can Make Their Own Rules
Two individuals can make a contract that sets out "Who; Where, What, Why, When, and How" of their relationship. That can be very expansive and have lots of detail, or be fairly simple. If it contains and provisions that are in conflict with laws (such as religious, ethnic, or handicapped conditions), only the improper language is legally ignored, leaving the overall contract valid and enforceable.
Private Partnership Trust
A typical Private Asset Trust can be the perfect method to accomplish your goals. The only negatives are that there is no ceremony, reception, announcements, or publicity, as well as it is unnecessary to get "permission" or a license to help each other. It's just another type of Partnership Agreement, with similar language and benefits and perils.
Better Than Marriage Contract
A recent Bloomberg Businessweek article notes that while gay married couples must calculate state and federal taxes differently each year, adding more to their tax preparation bill, the costliest consequence involves the estate tax.
While heterosexual spouses can generally inherit any amount of money or other assets from each other without paying tax, a same-sex spouse inheriting a large estate may be taxed as much as 35 percent on inheritances over $5 million. This is because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.
Last November, a New York woman filed suit against the IRS seeking to get back $363,000 in taxes on an inheritance from her same-sex spouse. She is working with her senator to try to repeal DOMA, which the Obama administration supports.
Private Asset Trust
A Private Asset Trust could have avoided their problems, and allowed them the legal partnership they were seeking.
The Private Asset Trust also provides Estate planning tools like health care directives, living trusts, durable powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships. Partners can put in place some important legal protections for their families and each other that traditional couples automatically enjoy just by being married with a government license.