Jace Knight had heard about Somerville, Mass., while working on a Ph.D. at the University of Alabama in 2020. The small city had recently passed a law granting domestic partnership rights, like the ability to receive employment benefits or make hospital visits, to people in polyamorous relationships.
Mx. Knight, who is nonbinary and has been nonmonogamous since 2014, was impressed. In late March, Somerville passed two more laws extending the rights of nonmonogamous residents, this time banning discrimination on the basis of “family or relationship structure” in city employment and policing. (A similar ordinance, focused on housing, is currently being discussed by the Somerville City Council.) Around the same time these new laws passed, Mx.
Knight, 38, now with a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, moved from Alabama to a house in Somerville with their two partners and a partner of one of those partners.
The city’s attitude toward nonmonogamy was a big factor in the group’s decision to move there, Mx. Knight said. In recent years, Somerville, a four-square-mile city with 80,000 residents just outside Boston, has quietly turned into something of a haven for those who practice consensual nonmonogamy, an umbrella term for relationship styles that involve more than two people.