At­lanta gay couple to chal­lenge Ber­muda mar­riage law

GA Voice - - News Briefs -

Ab­so­luteCARE will now serve At­lanta’s gay com­mu­nity and oth­ers liv­ing with HIV. The med­i­cal cen­ter is step­ping in to ab­sorb Pride Med­i­cal, which re­cently closed af­ter serv­ing At­lanta’s gay com­mu­nity for over 20 years.

The team at Ab­so­luteCARE be­lieves only the name will be missed, as they’re com­mit­ted to a seam­less tran­si­tion that will in­clude pro­vid­ing the best ser­vice to for­mer Pride Med­i­cal clients.

Pride Med­i­cal’s Amy Swartz, a physi­cian, and Terry Hack­worth, an ad­vanced prac­tice reg­is­tered nurse, along with about six full­time staff mem­bers, will join the Ab­so­luteCARE team led by Med­i­cal Di­rec­tor Joel Rosen­stock, who founded the full-ser­vice Med­i­cal Cen­ter and Phar­macy in 2000 to care for a strug­gling and un­der­served HIV pop­u­la­tion in At­lanta.

“I’ve been work­ing in At­lanta serv­ing this pop­u­la­tion for 26 years, and I think the com­bi­na­tion of Pride Med­i­cal with Ab­so­luteCARE is the most ex­cit­ing thing to hap­pen in a long time,” says Rosen­stock in a state­ment. “Both med­i­cal cen­ters have pro­vided com­pas­sion­ate and in­no­va­tive care for many years, but to­gether they will be able to ac­com­plish much more. The Ab­so­luteCARE of the fu­ture will test more clients, iden­tify and en­gage many more peo­ple in care, as­sist with be­hav­ioral health, im­pact so­cial de­ter­mi­nants of dis­ease, and im­prove the health of At­lantans for years to come.”

An At­lanta-area gay couple is poised to make history if their ef­fort to over­turn an am­bigu­ous Ber­muda mar­riage law re­strict­ing ac­cess to same-sex cou­ples is suc­cess­ful. Ijumo Hay­ward, 46, a na­tive Ber­mu­dian, and his part­ner Clarence Wil­liams III, 40, have be­gun the le­gal process to ob­tain a Ber­mu­dian mar­riage li­cense.

On Nov. 30, lawyer and for­mer Ber­muda At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Pet­tingill, who is rep­re­sent­ing Hay­ward and Wil­liams, filed a no­tice of their in­tent to marry with the regis­trar of Ber­muda. Ber­muda does not have a law on the books that ex­plic­itly pro­hibits same-sex mar­riage, and Pet­tingill be­lieves that the is­land’s 2013 amend­ment to the 1981 Hu­man Rights Act, which he au­thored, outlaws dis­crim­i­na­tion on the ba­sis of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and paves the way for Hay­ward and Wil­liams to have their union legally rec­og­nized.

A dual cit­izien, Hay­ward tells Ge­or­gia Voice that it’s im­por­tant for him to be mar­ried in the place where he grew up and calls home.

“Most of my fam­ily is there. I want it to be en­force­able in Ber­muda,” says Hay­ward. “I want my mar­riage to be rec­og­nized as a le­git­i­mate mar­riage just like any other het­ero­sex­ual mar­riage. Even if I were to be mar­ried in the U.S. and my part­ner de­cided to move to Ber­muda, he would have to come back af­ter 21 days.”

If suc­cess­ful, the couple is ey­ing an early 2016 wed­ding to be of­fi­ci­ated by Hay­ward’s mother, Sylvia Hay­ward-Har­ris, a min­is­ter of The Vi­sion Church of Ber­muda, which is a sis­ter min­istry to Bishop O.C. Allen’s The Vi­sion Church of At­lanta.

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