Everyone deserves to love freely. And Somerville residents seem to agree with that. The Massachusetts city — that’s situated northwest of Boston — recently passed an ordinance that polyamorous families shouldn’t be discriminated against. This is another step that can help bring the country towards acceptance and provide feasible rights for non-traditional families.

But how does this non-conventional type of relationship work — and how can they benefit from the recently-passed ordinance?

Somerville Aims to Eliminate Discrimination Against Polyamorous Families

In the last week of March of 2023, Somerville, Massachusetts passed an ordinance that polyamorous families should be protected and not discriminated against. This means they cannot be policed or denied employment for having a non-monogamous relationship. Giving polyamorous families this right through passing an ordinance (by the city council) is recognized as the first in the country.

In a Boston.com article, they say that the topic of polyamory (and other domestic partnerships) rights was raised when a Massachusetts resident requested for policies regarding non-traditional (monogamous) relationships to be applied — as they sought for better rights when it comes to filling out paperwork — because they wanted to visit their loved ones at the hospital; this was during the height of the COVID pandemic when many were ill from the disease.

Why Recognizing Polyamory and Non-Monogamous Families Matters

Up to this day, most cities and states only approve one legal spouse per person. When it comes to birth certificates, the majority of the country’s hospitals only allow two people to be listed as parents. However, it seems as though we’re slowly gearing towards acknowledging — and somehow accepting — that partners and parents can consist of more than two people.

Last 2017, a “throuple” went on a legal battle against the Southern California justice system when they petitioned that the three of the partners be legally considered as their baby’s fathers. They then wrote a book about it called “Three Dads and a Baby” — in the end, they won and the throuple are now the child’s dads.

What is Polyamory?

Polyamory simply means a relationship that consists of more than two people — as opposed to monogamy where the partnership involves no more than that. In polyamorous relationships, having more than one partner isn’t considered cheating. However, this isn’t to say that cheating and jealousy don’t exist in them. Polyamorous relationships also have boundaries — if they discussed that only certain members be a part of the relationship, then it should remain that way. If others are involved without the rest of the members’ consent, it can then be considered cheating.

Polyamory is a broad term — and the relationship structures vary per arrangement. For instance, there’s a “throuple” where three people are involved. A “quad,” on the other hand, consists of four members. There’s also the “vee” where three people are involved but two of the members are not dating each other — yet both are dating the third person involved.

Polyamory Facts

Polyamorous relationships can be difficult to grasp — even more so for one to get into. And that’s okay! But that’s not to say that polyamorous families are not experiencing the same joys and perks of traditional relationships. In a 2021 study that was published by Springer Science+Business Media, it says that most people in polyamorous partnerships are just as satisfied with their arrangement compared to those in monogamous relationships.

Polyamory may not be that common, but it’s not extremely rare either. In a Frontiers study, the article claims that roughly 4%-5% of Americans are in polyamorous partnerships.

Is Polyamory Healthy?

A polyamorous relationship may not be for you, however, it might just be the most ideal arrangement for some. According to a Newsweek interview with Victoria Brooks, a sexual ethics researcher from the University of Westminster, “Rather than judge, it would be wonderful to take the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our systems; what works and for who and why, some of the benefits, as well as some of the common difficulties, pleasures as well as harms. If we don’t talk about it and de-stigmatize it, then we can’t learn and understand, and do better by ourselves and our partners.”


These days, non-conventional partnerships seem to be getting recognized more in the country. Recently, Somerville, Massachusetts city council passed an ordinance that protects polyamorous families from being discriminated against — and to those in non-traditional relationships, this is an enormous step. Not only are their arrangements getting recognized, but they’re also safeguarded by the law.

Polyamory may be a new concept to some, but many of those who are involved in it thrive and live happily in their situations. Regardless if polyamorous families are in one or not, nobody deserves to be negatively judged and bullied for their choice of who to love — and, in this case, how many people they love.


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