Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Keeps Delaying Decision On Polyamory Legalization

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Is it legal for Adam, Eve, and Steve to be a throuple in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office will decide whether or not towns can recognize polyamorous relationships — eventually.

The municipal law unit in the Attorney General’s office has to decide whether or not a bylaw passed by the town of Arlington at its Town Meeting in April 2021 is lawful — and whether other towns in Massachusetts can do likewise. The Arlington bylaw seeks to establish domestic partner criteria for people in town; it includes an amendment saying the town will recognize domestic partnerships of more than two people, in addition to two-person relationships that don’t have the benefit of marriage.

Usually, the Attorney General’s Office has 90 days to decide on these matters. However, the office requested an extension to review the matter, giving the office until the end of October.

However, when NewBostonPost reached out to the office again last week, it had receive another extension and now has until November 27 to come up with the decision. The office does not comment on pending rulings.

If the Attorney General’s office approves the bylaw, other towns will be able to follow suit.

Arlington overwhelmingly passed its domestic partnership bylaw and the polyamory amendment to it. The domestic partnership bylaw passed with 221 people voting in favor of it and 11 people voting against it. The polyamory amendment passed with 192 people voting for it and 37 people voting against it.

The amended bylaw passed in theory allows people to register a domestic partnership with the town of Arlington if they meet the following criteria:


(1) They have made a commitment of mutual support and caring for each other their
domestic partners;
(2) They reside together and intend to do so indefinitely;
(3) They share basic living expenses;
(4) They are at least eighteen (18) years of age;
(5) They are competent to enter into a contract; and
(6) They are not married to anyone or related to each other by blood closer than would
bar marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


The bylaw would allow members of a polyamorous domestic partnership to have visitation rights at town-operated health care facilities and town-operated correctional facilities. Additionally, a child’s parent or legal guardian would be allowed to give a domestic partner access to a child’s school records as well as access to the child — including school dismissal.

In theory, it also means that Arlington town employees could receive bereavement leave for their domestic partners. The town’s employees currently may receive up to five days of paid leave for the death of a spouse, child, father, mother, sister, brother, or grandparents. However, the new domestic partner bylaw does not mandate bereavement leave for domestic partners.

Precinct 3 Town Meeting member Amos Meeks proposed the polyamory amendment to the domestic partnership bylaw. He has said that he has two domestic partners.

If the Attorney General’s office ends up approving the bylaw, it would make Arlington the third Massachusetts community to officially recognize polyamorous relationships. Somerville became the first in July 2020 and Cambridge became the second in March 2021. Those were city ordinances, however, which are not subject to review by the Attorney General’s office. Chapter 40, Section 32 of Massachusetts General Laws exempts city by-laws from review by the Attorney General’s office.

Meeks wasn’t the first person involved with Arlington politics to float the possibility of recognizing polyamory. A town selectman who said he was once involved in a three-way domestic relationship first raised the possibility of officially recognizing polyamorous relationships during a public meeting in June 2020, as NewBostonPost reported at the time.


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