Ruling in Favor of Polyamorous Relationship Could Pave the Way to Legalization

This landmark decision provides a strong legal opinion in favor of the unions. Here's how it could happen.


Polyamorous unions have long been mostly illegal in the U.S., but a recent New York court case might provide the legal impetus to change that.

In the case in question, West 49th St., LLC v. O’Neill, a New York Civil Court Judge Karen May Bacdayan ruled that polyamorous relationships should be granted the same legal protection given to two-person relationships, as reported in Reason. This landmark decision provides a strong legal opinion in favor of polyamorous unions.

But first, what is polyamory?

Polyamory is a form of consensual non-monogamy, meaning that parties involved in a polyamorous relationship agree to have more than one sexual or romantic partner. Polyamory has been around for centuries, but it hasn’t always been accepted.

A 2021 study published in Frontiers of Psychology found that “1 out of 6 people (16.8%) desire to engage in polyamory, and 1 out of 9 people (10.7%) have engaged in polyamory at some point during their life.”

How can this ruling lead to legalizing polyamorous relationships?

While it’s still unclear how this ruling will lead to legalizing polyamorous relationships, it’s possible that it could set a precedent for future cases, and eventually, legislation may be passed that officially recognizes polyamorous unions. Just like gay marriage, which was once illegal, polyamory may soon become more accepted as society becomes more tolerant and open-minded.

Other recent legislation has opened the doors for wider legal acceptance of polyamory. The city council of Somerville, Massachusetts passed an ordinance in 2020 redefining relationships as “entities formed by people” instead of “formed by two persons,” as reported by CBS News.

A similar ordinance in Cambridge, Massachusetts passed last year outlined that domestic partnerships don’t need to be limited to two people.

Advocates for these changes argue that legal recognition of these kinds of relationships will lead to a more inclusive society where rights are granted to people of all romantic preferences.

Should I consider polyamory?

The answer to that question depends on your personal beliefs and preferences. Polyamory isn’t for everyone, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Some people may find the idea of having multiple romantic or sexual partners appealing, while others may find it confusing or challenging.

If you’re interested in exploring polyamory, it’s important to do your research and talk to people who are already involved in polyamorous relationships. There’s a lot of information out there about polyamory, and it’s important to be aware of the challenges and benefits of this type of relationship before making a decision.

If you’re giving it serious thought, check out LA Weekly’s writeup of the kinds questions you should be asking.

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