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Bermuda’s reversal of same-sex marriage featured on CNN

Rights activist: journalist Allison Hope has put the spotlight on Bermuda’s same-sex marriage laws (Photograph supplied)

Bermuda’s ban on same-sex marriage has made international headlines.

In an opinion piece on US news network CNN’s website, journalist Allison Hope praised US politicians for codifying marriage equality in a vote in the House of Representatives earlier this week.

But in her article on Thursday, headlined: “‘Think same-sex marriage can't be abolished? Look at what happened in Bermuda”, Ms Hope warned that the US Senate could still drop the vote.

Same-sex marriage was made legal in Bermuda in 2017. But the law was reversed last year under the Domestic Partnership Act. That law only came into effect in March of this year following a series of appeals that went all the way to the Privy Council in London.

To date, Bermuda is the only country in the world to make gay marriages legal – and then roll back the law to make the practice unlawful.

In her article, Ms Hope, a lesbian and frequent visitor to Bermuda, wrote: “Of course, the fact that our rights are up for debate at all is incredibly frustrating at best and terrifying at worst.

“This weighs heavily on me as my family is preparing to travel to Bermuda this week. I have been anxiously reading up on the British territory's fight for same-sex marriage, which has been legalised and overturned twice in the span of five years.

“Earlier this year, a London tribunal ended the lengthy legal battle by ruling that a Bermuda law banning same-sex marriage is constitutional.

“The last time I went to Bermuda with my then-girlfriend more than a decade ago, marriage wasn't an option there or in my home state of New York.

“A lot has changed since then; my wife and I are now legally married and we have a child. So much rides on our legal protections, and what's happened in Bermuda really illustrates what’s at stake.

“As I gather our family’s documents to ensure we are protected in the event something happens while we're travelling, I can’t help but wonder if this is how I’m going to have to live my life should the Supreme Court overturn marriage equality in the US.

“Will we need to carry our adoption papers when we go to the grocery store? Our living wills when we go to see the Grand Canyon?

“Will we have to go back to filing separate state and federal taxes, forced by the legal system to deny the existence of our relationship in order to complete our required paperwork?”

Ms Hope concluded: “LGBTQ+ people aren't a wedge issue or a hypothetical. We’re human beings with jobs and families, hopes and dreams. We have children who are watching.

“We shouldn't have to fear that our hard-earned and widely accepted rights will be pulled out from under us in a cruel game of politicking and the attempted wholesale demolition of the separation of church and state.

“Marriage equality should be settled law. Let's confirm that with a Senate vote and a signature from the President. We have not a moment to waste.”