Two Massachusetts Cities Have Quietly Recognized Polyamorous Domestic Partnerships

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In 2020, the city of Somerville, Massachusetts quickly and quietly recognized polyamorous relationships as legal domestic partnerships.

Polyamory is considered a sexual identity under the broader umbrella of the LGBT movement. Polyamorous relationships typically involve more than two people, and people who identify as polyamorous often do not believe in being faithful to one or even multiple partners.

“At the tail end of a City Council meeting last week, so quickly and quietly that you could have easily missed it, a left-leaning Massachusetts city expanded its notion of family to include people who are polyamorous, or maintaining consenting relationships with multiple partners,” the New York Times reported in July.

The move, which was apparently meant to fill a need arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, was believed by city counselor J.T. Scott to be the first in the nation.

While the recognition of legal multi-party domestic arrangements would give city workers in multiple-partner relationships would be able to extend their health coverage to partners under the ordinance, Scott was not sure that private employers would do the same.

“Based on the conversations I’ve had,” he told the NYT, “the most important aspect is that the city is legally recognizing and validating people’s existence. That’s the first time this is happening.”

Meanwhile, on April 30, Arlington, Massachusetts’ Town Meeting adopted a domestic partnership bylaw that also recognized polyamorous relationships, as Patch reported.

“The bylaw was passed in Session 2 and originally did not include language concerning polyamorous relationships. An amendment was introduced by Precinct 3 Town Meeting member Amos Meeks, who said he has two longtime domestic partners,” the outlet explained.

The amendment was approved by vote, and the bylaw passed 221-11 by the Town Meeting. Attorney General Maura Healey is now tasked with ensuring the bylaw corresponds with state law.

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