Adam And Eve, And… Steve? Here’s Where Polyamory Legalization Stands In Boston

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When, if ever, will Boston legalize polyamory?

If it’s going to happen, don’t count on Boston’s acting Mayor Kim Janey being the one to sign it into law. While neighboring cities like Somerville and Cambridge passed ordinances officially recognizing polyamorous relationships in June 2020 and March 2021, respectively, it does not appear to be a part of the Janey agenda.

“Mayor Janey does not currently have a comment on the measures taken in Cambridge and Somerville,” a press spokesman for Mayor Janey told NewBostonPost in an email message on Tuesday.

Janey is scheduled to serve as acting mayor until November 16. The winner of the November 2, 2021 Boston mayoral election is expected to take over for her. The two candidates are at-large city councilors Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu.

It’s unclear if either of them has interest in making Boston the third Massachusetts city to legalize polyamory; neither of them responded to NewBostonPost’s inquiry on the matter on Monday or Tuesday this week. No incumbent member of the Boston city council answered the question.

The city of Boston currently recognizes domestic partnerships that are not marriages; however, the city limits recognition to monogamous relationships. To file for a domestic partnership in Boston, a couple must meet the following criteria:


  • you share basic living expenses
  • you are responsible for each other’s well-being, and the well-being of any dependents
  • you are both at least 18 years old
  • you are both mentally capable of entering into a contract
  • you are each other’s only domestic partner
  • you aren’t married to anyone else, and you aren’t related by blood, and
  • if your relationship status changes, you will let the City Clerk know


In Boston, domestic partners have the same visitation rights at public health care and correctional facilities as well as access to school records of dependents, according to the city’s municipal code. Domestic partnerships were popularized before same-sex marriage was declared legal by the state’s highest court in 2004. 

While Somerville had no domestic partnership ordinance before it officially recognized polyamorous relationships, Cambridge did. The Cambridge domestic partnership ordinance has no age requirement in place, unlike Boston.

When Cambridge recognized polyamorous relationships, the city changed the definition of a domestic partnership to include two or more people; city officials also removed provisions saying that the people had to live together and that they couldn’t be married to other people, as NewBostonPost reported at the time.

Additionally, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office plans to decide next month whether towns have the authority to recognize polyamorous relationships. Arlington voted to do so at town meeting in April this year, but the Attorney General’s Municipal Law Unit is reviewing the legality of it. City ordinances aren’t subject to the same review by the Attorney General’s office; Chapter 40, Section 32 of Massachusetts General Law exempts cities from these reviews.


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