A Massachusetts city known for its progressive politics has made history by reportedly becoming the first municipality in America to recognize domestic partnerships involving multiple spouses.
According to officials, Somerville, a city of about 80,000, has roughly two dozen polyamorous households. The new law, signed by Mayor Joseph Curtatone, allows them to collectively purchase a home together, as well as share health benefits.
"People have been living in families that include more than two adults forever," said J.T. Scott, a city councilor who supported the change. "Here in Somerville, families sometimes look like one man and one woman, but sometimes it looks like two people everyone on the block thinks are sisters because they've lived together forever, or sometimes it's an aunt and an uncle, or an aunt and two uncles, raising two kids."
Besides the ability to receive health benefits, many of the justifications for the move offered by officials mirror arguments used during gay marriage debates.
"This is simply allowing that change, allowing people to say, ‘This is my partner and this is my other partner,'" Scott said. "It has a legal bearing, so when one of them is sick, they can both go to the hospital."
The move comes alongside a wider push by the American Psychological Association to reduce the cultural stigma of what the call "consensual non-monogamy." The APA refers to polyamory as "a marginalized identity."