Last year, Somerville, MA, became the first city in the USA to recognize multiple partner domestic partnerships. As many and varied publications as their local papers (physical and online), the New York Times, and this blog covered it. It's felt like in the intervening year an entire decade has passed - or is it only a month? - because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the immediate attempt of neighboring Cambridge, MA to pass a similar but not identical measure has taken an entire year.
This has partly been because of attempts by activists to include specific language to address the concerns of polyamorous people in the city and the area who haven't planned their relationships around city limits or living in a single house for the purpose of benefits but still want recognition of their relationships for hospital visits, child custody, or purposes of inheritance. It's a more targeted and comprehensive legislation than the snuck-under-the-wire Somerville law.
Now, as that Cambridge law wraps up to pass, activists in Washington, D.C., are getting ready to begin the process of pushing for a bigger city to include groups of more than two in their domestic partnership laws. The proposed changes to D.C's laws are very minor verbally, which may get them in with few challenges - but they mean an immense amount. A major US city acknowledging group domestic partnerships? This is huge! It would be great. We'll have to keep an eye out as the actual legal leg work on this unfolds - folks have just started floating the changes to make sure they haven't missed clauses before bringing it forward legally so it will be a while before it's heard legally, and then a bit longer before it hits the news cycle as a controversy, regardless of whether it passes or not.
At the same time, gradually, in states across the country, folks are arranging custody agreements to include multiple parents as legal parents. But in California, the first birth certificates have been issued with three legal parents listed on the certificate, rather than simply three guardians or parents in a custody agreement. This is an awesome legal change for the three men in the throuple listed on their two children's birth certificates, and it's great precedent for future polyamorous parents.
These are awesome steps forward for polyamorous people in terms of legal recognition in recent years. It normalizes polyamory in the legal system for all of us so there's less trail blazing to do if we need to determine our own legal and familial paperwork and systems.
This blog is a year old this week, so we're doing a little giveaway. The lucky winner will get their own brand new copy of the Jealousy Workbook (which you may have noticed me mentioning over, and over, and over) mailed to them, courtesy of yours truly. Just send an email to email@example.com or use the contact page to enter and include the word "Giveaway." Submit by Saturday, February 27, 2021 to win!
I’m going to be teaching at Tethered to Wifi 2.0, a virtual conference on rope, movement, & relationships, March 19-21! It looks like I’ll be teaching my "Beyond The Kitchen Table" class on Saturday morning, but the final schedule is still TBD. Tickets for the weekend are $25 for the rest of February and are available at tetheredtogether.net; There are a lot of great presenters, check it out.
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