US writer brought up in Bermuda backs SSM victory
An American author whose teenage years in Bermuda were marred by homophobia yesterday appealed to opponents of same-sex marriage to give in to progress.
Kirkland Hamill, who married his same-sex partner two years ago in the United States, said: “Gay marriage opponents are losing in courts all over the world because, at their heart, their arguments boil down to a discomfort between what used to be and what now is.”
He added: “Gay couples in Bermuda are being told by the Preserve Marriage movement to sit down and keep their stories to themselves, dimming the collective light.
“We refuse. Your discomfort is not our problem to fix.”
Preserve Marriage took a lead role on religious grounds in the fight against same-sex marriage.
Mr Hamill published a memoir last year, Filthy Beasts, which included accounts of his troubled childhood in Bermuda in the 1970s and 1980s.
His late mother Wendy was a Bermudian-born alcoholic who cracked jokes about his sexuality and Mr Hamill struggled well into adulthood with his sexual identity.
He said one of his favourite films was the 1989 drama Dead Poet’s Society, where a poetry teacher played by the late Robin Williams challenged a nervous pupil to overcome his fear that “everything inside of him is worthless and embarrassing”.
Mr Hamill added: “I remember watching that scene, feeling like he was talking to me.”
Mr Hamill, who lives in Maryland, said: “My husband Dave and I have been married for two years, together for ten.
“Our union hasn’t caused anybody else’s divorce.
“It hasn’t diminished the sanctity of anybody else’s marriage or stripped straight couples of their rights.”
He said the years of argument over sexuality and marriage equality had made him “tired”.
Mr Hamill weighed in on Bermuda’s legal battles over same-sex marriage in 2018, for an opinion piece in the LGBT magazine The Advocate.
The headline mistakenly said that he was born in Bermuda and that he had decided not to come back to the island.
But Mr Hamill wrote that he and his partner planned to Bermuda that spring “to celebrate the Bermuda Supreme Court’s May 2017 decision legalising same-sex marriage”.
But they cancelled the trip when the Domestic Partnership Act 2018 blocked same-sex marriage – although the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal later found the legislation to be unconstitutional.
Mr Hamill wrote in the Advocate that he had decided against the trip “because no matter how beautiful the beaches, how polite the people, and how sparkling blue the water, I will only be able to see the ugliness underneath it all until this legislation is overturned.”