Interested in polyamory? Somerville, Massachusetts may be the town for you
“It’s definitely becoming more of a movement,” said Ms. Smith. In recent years, organizations focusing on non-monogamy have taken political and legal action, gathered resources, and developed scientific research.
After Somerville passed its domestic partnership law, Arlington and Cambridge, two other Massachusetts cities, added polyamorous units to their existing domestic partnership ordinances. But once people register as domestic partners there, the benefits could extend beyond Massachusetts: “So people all over the country can register and go home to generally use it just like any other domestic partnership they registered in their home city. or anywhere,” Diana Adams, executive director of Chosen Family Law Center and one of the people who helped write the anti-discrimination ordinances for Somerville, wrote in an email.
The isolation and turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic may also have played a role in some people choosing to look beyond a two-person relationship model, said Rebecca Alvarez Story, a sexologist and the CEO of Bloomi, a sex toy company. creates and produces sex education content. With polyamory, she said, people think, “I might be more fulfilled, I get more help with my family, the financial burden is more shared.”
Yet people in non-monogamous relationships are still often perceived and portrayed negatively. Some are afraid to show up for work for fear of being fired or overlooked for promotions as there are no employment protections based on relationship structure. Parents sometimes lose custody battles in family courts because they have multiple partners.
For the most part, Somerville’s ordinances will not solve these problems. The anti-discrimination regulations have a very limited scope; and while the domestic partnership law is broader and allows polyamorous people from outside Somerville to register as domestic partners, it will not protect someone from being fired or having their children taken away. But proponents of the laws say there is meaning in what they symbolize.
“We no longer operate where it’s a heteronormative, cisgender woman and man, and 2.5 children,” Ms. Story Alvarez said.