Couple’s wedding to feature in magazine
A glossy magazine dedicated to same-sex marriage is to feature a couple from Bermuda in its next edition, along with the celebration they held on the Island after tying the knot abroad.
Adrian Beasley and Shane Hartnett, who wed last August, will appear in a four-page spread and on the contents page in EQL Weddings & Destinations, after they were approached by a representative of the publication who spotted their picture on the website of a local photographer, Becky Spencer.
Mr Beasley, 36, told The Royal Gazette that a thumbnail image of him and Mr Hartnett wearing their wedding attire of brightly coloured Bermuda shorts caught the woman’s eye and she asked if they would be featured.
They agreed, on condition that the article wasn’t a “fluff piece” and included the fact they weren’t able to officially wed here because same-sex marriage is not allowed.
“Shane and I are both very supportive of the tourism product in Bermuda,” said Mr Beasley, a lawyer from the Island.
“We are sort of shooting ourselves in the foot by being so conservative on that front. Places that allow same-sex marriages are ahead of the curve, it’s hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and most of that would stay on the Island.
“It’s difficult to be gay and Bermudian because while I definitely want tourism dollars here, I definitely don’t want it forced on Bermuda. It should be here but I am torn. It’s a damning indictment on this government and the government before it that education hasn’t been dealt with.
“There are zero support services aimed at LGBTQ youth here. Those youth are here. We don’t have any of that stuff. It’s those sort of programmes that need to be implemented first by the government.”
Mr Harnett, who is originally from Ireland, added: “There is no safety net. There is nothing here for kids that are having this turmoil inside. It just tends to get swept under the carpet.”
The 40-year-old accountant, who describes himself as a “more private person” than his husband, said that was one of the reasons he agreed for their wedding to appear in a magazine with a circulation of tens of thousands of readers across the United States, adding: “It’s important for us as an older generation to drive things for the younger generation.”
The couple exchanged vows at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau on August 21 last year, with just their photographer as a witness, before holding a blessing in September at Wesley Methodist Church in Hamilton and a reception at Tom Moore’s Tavern attended by 140 guests.
Mr Beasley described the New York trip as an “amazing experience”, seeing other “brides and brides and grooms and grooms” waiting to tie the knot and being cheered by well-wishers, who snapped photos of them in their green and orange shorts.
But he added: “We got married in New York because we can’t get married here.”
Mr Beasley is a fifth-generation congregant at Wesley, which is affiliated with the United Church of Canada, and the magazine article details how he and Mr Hartnett applied to the church’s spiritual interest committee for the blessing.
They were given approval but the decision prompted at least two members of the congregation to leave, according to Mr Beasley, who added that the same-sex blessing was the first of its kind at the church.
“It’s a big deal because there are a lot of people who aren’t comfortable with it,” he said.
His husband, who was brought up Catholic, said the church recognised they were in love and chose to support them.
Ms Spencer said she “absolutely had a blast” taking pictures of the Bermuda celebrations, adding: “I was in tears half the day because they are so genuine and real. It really saddens me that they can’t just be accepted and have their wedding the way everyone else does, that they go through so much just to be able to love one another.”
The photographer said if the magazine piece generated interest for her business from same-sex couples abroad she would have to tell them “how it is here and they are going to have to be married prior”.
Mr Beasley and Mr Hartnett plan to change their last names to Hartnett-Beasley. The next edition of EQL is due out before Valentine’s Day.