A Progressive Step: Massachusetts Town Protects Polyamorous Relationships

open relationship

Somerville, Massachusetts, has added legal protections that recognize polyamorous lifestyles as part of a protected class. 

And yes, it’s as big of a deal as it sounds.

This makes Somerville the first city in the country to pass polyamorous protection laws.

The move further proves that open relationships and polyamorous lifestyles continue their ascent into mainstream culture. While there is still a long way to go, this latest legal move displays a shifting culture regarding traditional marriage and its statistically proven woes. 

The move means polyamorous families, alongside many other family structures, gain legal protections in line with traditional, straight couples. 

The move isn’t a surprise for the Boston suburb, which in 2020 offered recognition to polyamorous couples. However, adding legal protections dramatically escalates the march for equal dating and relationship rights. Such legislation can have profound consequences, including effects on health insurance benefits, hospital visitations, and more. Moreover, this means anti-discrimination protection is enacted during police interactions and with employment processes. 

“These ordinances are a step towards us having a society that fully embraces people of diverse relationship structures,” Willie Burnley Jr., Somerville’s city councilor at-large, told The 19th News. “People shouldn’t be punished because of who they love or how many people they love, as long as they’re all consenting adults. We should be celebrating the kind of care and community that builds.”

Non-traditional dating continues to throw a wrench into a mainstream dating ecosystem that’s endured criticisms due to high divorce and separation rates. Mainstream dating supporters’ objections to polyamorous and open relationship dating appear to derive from a hypocritical place, considering the dismal statistics with traditional marriage.