2 California Men Arrested On Gay Cruise In Caribbean

ROSEAU, Dominica (CBS / AP) — Two California men on a gay cruise of the Caribbean were arrested Wednesday in Dominica, where sex between two men is illegal.

Police Constable John George said police boarded the cruise ship and arrested the two men on suspicion of indecent exposure and “buggery,” a term equivalent to sodomy on the island. He identified the men as John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, but did not provide their hometowns.

George said the men were seen having sex on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship by someone on the dock.

The two were later charged with indecent exposure and are scheduled to appear before a magistrate Thursday morning. If found guilty, they could be fined $370 each and face up to six months in jail.

The ship carrying about 2,000 passengers departed Puerto Rico on Saturday and arrived in Dominica on Wednesday. It departed for St. Barts without the men, who are being held in a cell at police headquarters in the capital of Roseau.

The cruise was organized by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specializes in gay travel.

President Rich Campbell, who is aboard the cruise, said in a phone interview earlier that he thought the two men would be released. He later said in an email that the company has organized many trips to Dominica and would “happily return.”

“Many countries and municipalities that gay men visit and live in have antiquated laws on their books,” he said. “These statutes don’t pose a concern to us in planning a tourist visit.”

Campbell said he expects the two men to be released on Thursday and that they only face misdemeanor charges.

“The guests actions were unfortunate but minor in this case and have no bearing on our overall guest experience,” he said via email.

The pastor of Dominica’s Trinity Baptist Church, Randy Rodney, praised the police for their intervention.

“I am very pleased that the police were called in and have arrested the people in question. I have warned about gay tourism and its implications for Dominica,” said Rodney, who is a vocal critic of homosexuality and lesbianism.

The presence of gay cruises in the Caribbean has riled several conservative islands including Jamaica and Grenada, where anti-sodomy laws are enforced with strong backing from religious groups.

According to Cruisemates.com, no gay cruise lines sail to Jamaica or Barbados for fear of homophobia and possible violence. It said other places like the U.S. Virgin Islands welcome gay cruises.

In 2010, the Cayman Islands rejected the arrival of an Atlantis gay cruise amid protests from religious groups even though homosexuality is legal on the archipelago.

Don Weiner, a spokesman for Atlantic Events, referred all questions to Campbell, including why the company organized a trip to Dominica and whether it knew about the island’s anti-sodomy laws.

Elizabeth Jakeway, a spokeswoman for Celebrity Cruises, referred all questions to Atlantis.

The last time authorities in the Caribbean intervened on a gay cruise was in February 2011, when agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested a California man aboard the Allure of the Seas, which had docked in St. Thomas. The man, Steven Barry Krumholz of West Hollywood, pleaded guilty to selling ecstasy, methamphetamine and ketamine to fellow passengers.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • PNLE

    It’s a shame that the government here allowed this news to reach cbs. The pastor is a hypocrite, hope his dirty laundry gets settled soon. Who ever it was that opened their mouths apparently had nothing better to do. The ship shld have been fined and the whole matter squashed then and there. The radio stations who r extending this story r worst, the country laundry shld not be used for entertainment. The people were on there ship having sex, they r not the first to do so n will not be the last, y is a big deal being made about it this time? Gay phonbia is stupid and wrong just like racism is. live and let live, and all who say other wise need to grow the f up

  • Bell407

    Pastor Randy needs to look no further than his own flock I bet. There are most likely a few tax evaders, spouse beaters, drug users and dog kickers.

  • Marty

    This is what Rick Santorum’s America would be like. He’d probably have LGBT Americans stripped of their citizenship if he could get away with it.

    • Dr.M

      Don’t believe he wouldn’t’ put crematoria in Kansas.

  • Paulette

    CBS reported earlier the the men were cabin, that is not true they were in full view on the deck of the ship which towers over our city so all eyes could see…….

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