The city council of Cambridge, Massachusetts recently approved an ordinance altering the city’s current statute to allow for domestic partnerships between 3 or more adults.
The council approved the change last Monday and the definition of domestic partnership in Cambridge was rewritten to be “the entity formed by two or more persons" who are not related and must register as a “relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment and intend to remain in such a relationship”, Reason reports.
Additionally, they cannot be “in a domestic partnership with others outside this partnership," and "consider themselves to be a family."
Included in the new definition is the exclusion of the requirement that the domestic partnership must live together as well as the domestic partners no longer needing to verify their familial relationship to the city through multiple pieces of evidence.
PLAC, a coalition of the Chosen Family Law Center, the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic, and members of the American Psychological Association's Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy, published a statement in celebration of the move.
"The ordinance was developed with detailed input from the newly formed Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition (PLAC), and is the first of what advocates hope will be a wave of legal recognition for polyamorous families and relationships in 2021," PLAC said.
The coalition seeks for the legalization of polyamorous relationships extending beyond the traditional nuclear family with “non-nuclear families”.
“Non-nuclear families—such as single parents supported by relatives, step-families, open adoption families, multi-generational families, multi-parent families, and polyamorous families—have changed the landscape of American society, and yet, many of these diverse family structures are not protected or recognized by the law," Alexander Chen of the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic wrote in a statement.
Diana Adams, executive director of the Chosen Family Law Center, noted that “the lack of legal protection makes non-nuclear families especially vulnerable to stigma and discrimination in employment, health care, housing, and social life.”
Adams added that she’s represented “hundreds of clients who have been discriminated against because they're polyamorous, whether that meant being unable to visit their life partner in the hospital, losing child custody in court battles, or losing their job.”
“Legal recognition of these families reduces social stigma and provides families with the stability we all deserve,” she asserted.
Cambridge will become the second city in the U.S to legalize polyamorous partnerships after Somerville, Massachusetts, legalized domestic partnerships between three or four people last year.
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