In a recent ruling, New York Judge Karen May Bacdayan declared that the same law that protects two-person relationships should also protect polyamorous relationships.
Scott Anderson, Markyus O’Neill and Robert Romano were in a relationship in which Anderson and O’Neill lived together in an apartment, and Romano lived in a different location. Even though O’Neill and Romano did not live together, they were legally married.
When Anderson passed away, the building’s owner argued that O’Neill was not “a non-traditional family member” but rather just a “roommate” and could not renew the apartment’s lease. The case then proceeded to court, where the property owner’s attorney called the statement given by defendant Markyus O’Neill a “fairytale”.
However, Judge Bacdayan ruled in favour of protecting the rights of those in polyamorous relationships. And while stating her decision, she cited Obergefell v Hodges, the Supreme Court case that made same-sex marriage a constitutional right, calling it “groundbreaking”.
“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 , 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”, she said.
Judge Bacdayan continues, “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?” questioning the meaning of a “family-like relationship” dynamic.
According to LGBTQ Nation, the case will return to court as a result of the three individuals’ relationship being further investigated.
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.
comments. Please sign in to comment.