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Massachusetts city recognizes polyamorous relationships in new domestic partnership ordinance

The city's law now defines a domestic partnership as an 'entity formed by people' instead of an 'entity formed by two persons.'
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The city of Somerville, Mass., now recognizes polyamorous relationships after its city council voted unanimously in favor of a new domestic partnership ordinance, and the mayor signed it into law.

Polyamory is the practice of having multiple intimate relationships, whether sexual or just romantic, with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved, according to Psychology Today.

The city council voted last Thursday to change the wording of the law to define a domestic partnership as an "entity formed by people" instead of an "entity formed by two persons." It also replaces “he and she” with “they.” "Both" was replaced with "all."

It also removed the line, "They are each other's sole domestic partner."

Councilor Lance Davis, who supported the ordinance, told CNN and the Boston Globe that the city's mayor Joseph Curtatone signed the ordinance into law on Monday.

The ordinance was brought to the city council as a way to help residents, who are not married, visit their partners who are sick with coronavirus in the hospital, according to CNN. Just before the vote, it was suggested to include partnerships of more than two people.

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“I don’t feel it’s the place of government to define a family,” Davis said to the Boston Globe in a phone interview.

J.T. Scott, a city councilor who supported the move, told the New York Times that he believes it was the first such municipal ordinance in the country. 

Until a month ago, Somerville didn't have a domestic partnership ordinance, unlike neighboring cities like Cambridge and Boston, according to the New York Times.