SHOULD GAY CRUISES STOP AT ANTI-GAY PORTS?
Thu, 22 March 2012The two men arrested for indecent exposure during a gay cruise have been released on the Caribbean island of Dominica, but questions are being asked about why the ship stopped at an anti-gay port in the first place.
Americans Robert Hart (41) and Dennis Jay Mayer (53) were spotted having sex on the Celebrity Summit ship by locals on the docks in the town of Roseau.
Police boarded the ship, arrested the men and held them until they were found guilty of indecent exposure.
They were each fined around U.S. $900 before being released.
The American company behind the cruise, Atlantis Events, has now come under fire for organising gay cruises that stop at ports that have anti-gay laws.
Rich Campbell, Atlantis Events President, issued a statement about the incident, saying that people should "get the facts correct before condemning Atlantis or Dominica for what happened".
According to Campbell, the "guests were seen engaging in a sexual act outdoors on their balcony in full public view of the port and town. Not only did many of the residents witness the act, several of our guests saw this incident as well".
He insisted that the "arrests had nothing to do with the guests’ sexual orientation, nor was any 'anti-gay' law invoked. These guests were engaged in behaviour that is inappropriate in any port of call, or major city for that matter."
Police officials, however, said that they considered charging the men with sodomy, which is illegal in Dominica and carries penalties including 10 years in prison, but chose not to do so because it would have taken too long to prosecute.
"...we decided that it was in our best interest to deal expeditiously with the issue and get the individuals out of our island as quickly as possible,” Dominican Police Chief Cyril Carette told thedominican.net.
Writing on the Atlantis Events Facebook page, one commentator, Brian James, said: "Our gay dollars shouldn't be given to countries who criminalize "buggery" or Sodomy, or a normal behaviour between partners. Removing our gay dollars from their port may convince them to change their laws. Just because they are 'old laws' doesn't mean they don't occasionally enforce them."
What do you think? Should gay cruise companies stop at ports that have laws that persecute gays and lesbians?