The city of Somerville, Massachusetts, will now recognize polyamorous relationships after the city council voted in favor of a new domestic partnership ordinance in a meeting last Thursday.
Councilor Lance Davis, who supported the ordinance, told CNN he believes this is the first ordinance of its kind in the country.
The domestic partnership ordinance was brought to the city council recently as a means to help residents who are not married to visit their partners who are sick with coronavirus at the hospital, according to Davis. Right before the meeting last Thursday where the ordinance was going to be voted on, Councilor JT Scott suggested to Davis it should include partnerships of more than two people.
The domestic partnership ordinance was brought to the council by Davis to encompass this change in a virtual meeting Thursday evening. Davis recommended tweaking the ordinance so that partners weren’t required to live together or inform the city of change of address.
Mayor Joseph Curtatone signed the ordinance into law Monday, according to Davis.
The office of the mayor did not immediately return a request for comment.
This is Somerville’s first domestic partnership ordinance, according to Davis, meaning the city now joins nearby Boston and Cambridge, which also have such ordinances. Massachusetts became the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.
Davis says all the feedback he’s received from this ordinance has been positive. He says he hopes other states will follow suit.
“Folks live in polyamorous relationships and have for probably forever. Right now, our laws deny their existence and that doesn’t strike me as the right way to write laws at any level,” said Davis. “Hopefully this gives folks a legal foundation from which to have discussion. Maybe others will follow our lead.”