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Perhaps one of the most important changes in family law in the past thirty years has been the inclusion of certain kinds of friendships in the range of relationships from which rights and responsibilities can flow. Domestic partnership laws, a phenomenon of the 1990s, may be seen as a natural development from the judicial recognition of contract cohabitation and the legislative and judicial response to same-sex couples who, unable to meet statutory requirements for marriage, have sought official recognition of their relationships. This essay discusses an aspect of certain kinds of domestic partnership laws-their formal requirements and the extent to which they represent a greater regulation of a relationship than is found in marriage laws.