New York judge rules in favor of polyamorous relationships

I agree.   The keyword in any relationship is consent.   If the people involved can’t give consent for any reason then they are being forced against their will and that is wrong.  I am thinking of women and young girls forced into marriage against their will.   That includes sexual relations, if there is full consent from those involved then it is no one else’s business.   I do not think on person in a marriage owns the other.   Originally all the men owned the woman.    Or many women in some places.    If the people involved all agree that this is the way they want their lives / relationship to be, they should get to choose.    Before anyone raises the false argument of “Well that leads to kids / animals / vacuum cleaners etc. getting married, think about it.  Can any of those consent to marriage?    No!   Marriage is a legal contract between people controlled by the state and federal government.   Yes religions like to claim they own marriage and god says it is this or that.   But the fact is different religions have different views of what a marriage is, and for years religion did not even deal with marriage.  “For much of the early Christian Era, the Church stayed out of weddings and let the state handle the union of man and woman. Finally, sometime after 800 AD, the Church began to perform weddings, and a few centuries later the Catholic Church made marriage one of the sacraments. Apr 26, 2017″,marriage%20one%20of%20the%20sacraments.    Marriages in the US are not done under the authority of the church but under the state.   Churches / religions try to dictate what marriages should be, and are against all social remedies for bad marriages, but the US is not a theocracy so why should a person who is not part of a church / religion be forced to live under the ideas / dictates of a religion they don’t belong to?  Also notice the other places that are expanding the idea of marriage.    Hugs

polyamory, polyamorous, Pride, Somerville, Massachusetts
Photo: Shutterstock

New York City’s eviction court – the venue of a landmark same-sex relationship decision long before Obergefell v Hodges – is now the source of a legal opinion that comes down clearly on the side of polyamorous unions.

The decision came in the case of West 49th St., LLC v. O’Neill, decided by New York Civil Court Judge Karen May Bacdayan, concluded that polyamorous relationships are entitled to the same sort of legal protection given to two-person relationships.

The case revolves around three individuals. Scott Anderson and Markyus O’Neill lived together in a New York City apartment. Anderson held the lease, but was married to another man, Robert Romano, who lived at another address. After Anderson died, the building’s owner contended O’Neill had no right to renew the lease since he was just a “roommate” of Anderson’s and not “a non-traditional family member.”

The court concluded that there needed to be a hearing about whether Anderson, Romano and O’Neill were in a polyamorous relationship.

Before gay marriage was legalized in any state, Braschi v. Stahl Assocs. Co. was decided in 1989 and made the New York State Court of Appeals the first American appellate court to recognize that a two-person, same-sex relationship is entitled to legal recognition.

“Braschi is widely regarded as a catalyst for the legal challenges and changes that ensued,” Bacdayan wrote in her opinion. “By the end of 2014, gay marriage was legal in 35 states through either legislation or state court action. Obergefell v Hodges (2015), the seminal Supreme Court decision that established same-sex marriage as a constitutional right was also heralded as groundbreaking.”

“However,” wrote Bacdayan, “Braschi and its progeny and Obergefell limit their holdings to two-person relationships.” This case, Bacdayan wrote, “presents the distinct and complex issue of significant multi-person relationships.”

The judge cited legislation enacted since the advent of federally recognized same sex unions. “In February 2020, the Utah legislature passed a so-called Bigamy Bill, decriminalizing the offense by downgrading it from a felony to a misdemeanor. In June [2020], Somerville, Massachusetts, passed an ordinance allowing groups of three or more people who ‘consider themselves to be a family’ to be recognized as domestic partners. The neighboring town of Cambridge followed suit, passing a broader ordinance recognizing multi-partner relationships. The law has proceeded even more rapidly in recognizing that it is possible for a child to have more than two legal parents.”

“Why then,” posited the judge, “except for the very real possibility of implicit majoritarian animus, is the limitation of two persons inserted into the definition of a family-like relationship for the purposes of receiving the same protections from eviction accorded to legally formalized or blood relationships? Is ‘two’ a ‘code word’ for monogamy? Why does a person have to be committed to one other person in only certain prescribed ways in order to enjoy stability in housing after the departure of a loved one?”

The attorney for the property owner characterized defendant O’Neill’s affidavit, claiming himself as a non-traditional family member, as a “fairytale.”

The case returns to court after further investigation of the three individuals’ relationship.


3 thoughts on “New York judge rules in favor of polyamorous relationships

  1. Interesting. Since 1976, relationships resembling a marriage in Aotearoa New Zealand have been protected, especially in regards to property, irrespective of the gender/sex of the parties and irrespective of whether or not such a relationship has been formalised/solemnised as marriage or civil union. In other words, common law marriages, known as de facto relationships here, have equal protection under law. Although one can have just a single formal/solemnised marriage or civil union, one is not limited in the number of relationships resembling a marriage one can have.

    One peculiarity of the law is that only 2-way relationships are recognised, so while A, B and C might be a polyamorous relationship, the law recognises three separate relationships: A & B, A & C, and B & C. And of course if there’s a relationship between A & B and A &C, but no relationship exists between B & C, then just two relationships are recognised. Complications might arise where there is some dispute over whether or not one or more of the relationships are of a nature that resembles a marriage. Here a de facto marriage is defined as two people who live together as a couple, but there is no prescriptive list of what “living together as a couple” is. Essentially it boils down to how a judge determines how the public views the relationship.

    If the situation of Anderson and O’Neill occurred here, there’d be little doubt that they were in a de facto relationship, and the relationship between Anderson and Romano would be irrelevant. The lease would be recognised as relationship property, so O’Neill would have the same rights as those held by Anderson.

    A point of interest is that when the relationship property law was established in 1976, homosexual acts were illegal and would remain so for another eight years, but the property rights of a homosexual couple were protected right from the outset. Just as well that “living together as a couple” does not mandate evidence of a sexual relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Barry. Thank you for the information. I am often amazed at how progressive other countries are and how backwards my own is on society and culture issues. We used to pride ourselves on being an open tolerant society and the land of the free. I see now that it was just nationalistic rhetoric to make us feel good and hide the fact we did not have the public services other countries did because we were becoming owned by corporations / the veery wealthy. By making the public think we were the best country it kept our people from looking at what other countries did for their people. Best wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

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