Polyamory is practiced in the United States

The small town of Somerville in Massachusetts made history in the course of a formulation question: It broke with the monogamous relationship scheme and expanded officially recognizable partnerships to those that consist of more than two partners. The trigger for this was the Corona crisis.

The small town of Somerville in the US state of Massachusetts, located near Boston on the east coast, is not particularly significant. But now she has a decision made by her city council New York Times brought: Somerville is the first city in the United States to officially recognize polyamorous relationships. The twelve citizens' representatives unanimously voted for unmarried partnerships of three or more adults to be registered in the future. This means that the partners have the same rights as spouses in a traditional monogamous community: for example, the right to visit the hospital or the option of joint health insurance, which is provided by the employer.

Until last month, Somerville had no legal basis for illegitimate partners. The need for action resulted from the corona pandemic, when life partners were unable to access the other's health insurance because they were not married. When drafting an ordinance, City Councilor J. T. Scott pointed out that defining relationships as "an entity made up of two people" would exclude polyamorous communities. So it came about that Somerville issued the first such ordinance nationwide, expanding the conservative relationship scheme.

These do not necessarily have to be love relationships; it is rather about the fact that people who are connected to one another can form a binding community together in order to be able to benefit from advantages for a life together that were previously only available to spouses. "People have always lived in families with more than two adults," said J. T. Scott; he alone knows at least two dozen polyamorous households in his city. His fellow councilor, Lance Davis, thinks it is not up to the government to tell people what is and what is not a family. It remains to be seen whether private employers will follow the regulation on health insurance. In any case, it applies to municipal employees. According to Davis, it is crucial that the city legally recognize and confirm the lives of its citizens.

How the revolutionary ordinance will be received beyond the city limits remains to be seen - especially by conservatives, who see the traditional family constantly threatened. Scott reported the New York Timesthat he has already been overwhelmed by messages and calls. Among them were also lawyers who had shown interest in striving for a similar regulation at the state level or even nationwide.

12 comments

Comments

Junius at the permanent link

Do you already realize that this is the legalization of Islamic polygamy, not exactly an example of gender equality, through the back door?

If one can think of progress as progress, one does not have to.

Martin at the permanent link

But you should. Polyamorous relationships have always existed. State and society should recognize this.

Monogamy is not an acceptable family model, especially for bisexuals who maintain relationships with women and men.

Atheist Steinbrenner at the Permanent Link

So it was the decision, as I read it, a hack to insure people who had no insurance with city employees.

In my opinion, this shows less that people are very liberal in the city, but rather that they were looking for a way not to leave people in the vicinity of city employees out in the rain without health care, because they may have lost their jobs due to the corona shutdown. This is a fine move, but it hushes up the underlying problem of a health system in which not everyone participates.

Stefan Höfer at the permanent link

Why a relationship always has to consist of two people is a mystery to me.

Anyone who suspects that here again psychotic Christianity is involved, that the priests have their black fingers involved, is not wrong. To put it casually: who came up with it?

What is certain is that a monogamous relationship is neither a law of nature nor a sociological necessity, much less can claim a higher morality for itself. (How should she?) On the contrary! Homo sapiens is, to a high degree, a polygamous mammal, who is troubled by the imposed fragile double standards on the part of neurotic obscurants.

The family is the "nucleus of the state" is said to be swollen up and down the country. But what does "family" mean? One and the other time, conservative politicians strive for the stability of a two-person relationship (without children). Apart from the fact that the much-vaunted stability cannot be far off, considering, for example, the high divorce rates in all free countries on earth: separations of couples are the norm, not the exception! They belong to the human condition like human sexuality. And they are - per se - nothing bad either! Neither shame nor disgrace! Even "sin"! (It would go beyond the scope of this letter to the editor to go into it in more detail. A reasonably intelligent hominid who was not Christianly indoctrinated from childhood should be able to grasp it.)

To cut a long story short: Do polygamous relationships naturally have to be less "stable" than conventional unmarried relationships, which the state and local churches (the latter should be fingered) conjure up in a downright mantra-like manner? How many independent, that is, reputable, studies are there on this? What are their results?

Be that as it may: so that the "modern constitutional state" is not just on paper, its citizens must be of age and recognize that such a community is as committed to internal freedom as it is to social security. The state has to serve the pursuit of happiness of individuals, not the reactionary worldview of religious groups or bigoted potentates. They call themselves Trump, Erdogan, Putin or Wojtyla (now faded). In short: "Stability" is not everything!

It's time to grow up.

David Z at the permanent link

Orthodox Muslims and Mormons will be happy. I think Somerville could have included the idea of ​​the "harem" right away.

Because the feminists Sommervilles are obviously very culturally sensitive. Archaic positions are seen as enrichment. Well, it can happen in the heat of the moment. How were the possible possibilities of financial abuse actually regulated?

It seems to me that there is another quick shot in terms of ethics without weighing the consequences - sacrificed to the god of equality, arbitrariness and dissolution.

I think from a humanistic point of view there is nothing to cheer about here. On the contrary.

The fact that Mormon groups are not insignificantly represented in Massachusetts and that their fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which at least supports plural marriage, if not still practicing it, has one of its main temples in nearby Boston, is of course pure coincidence.

Martin at the permanent link

Religious groups who practice polygyny will feel vindicated, but their behavior will not change now. A situation that already exists is given a legal framework.

I can't see anything bad about that. In any case, it is a great step forward for people who live polyamorous.

David Z at the permanent link

Everyone should live as they see fit - as long as they do not harm anyone.

I see the last point violated if no regulations are created to prevent abuse and benefit names at the expense of others.

Thomas R. at the permanent link

Why does a state "must" interfere in the relationships of its citizens AT ALL?

Leon Paysan at the permanent link

Dear Thomas R., We had very different opinions in other contexts, but here I find your objection quite justified. :-)

Martin at the permanent link

Unfortunately, this can hardly be avoided within the framework of the existing economic and social system without worsening the situation for many people.

Thomas R. at the permanent link

There is also the possibility of private contractual arrangements. What I reject is only the government preferring or discriminating against certain forms of partnership compared to others.

Leon Paysan at the permanent link

I live in a gay-polyamorous V-constellation, have a registered life partner and a boyfriend.

I also have a long-term relationship with my boyfriend, in which we stand up for one another. Why shouldn't I be able to marry my boyfriend too?
If Muslims want to enter into polygamy out of a questionable patriarchal worldview, that is no reason to refuse polygamy for those who would like to do so for reasonable, understandable reasons.