Gay is OK on plenty of Caribbean islands, so why do gay cruises choose the homophobes?

Ships in Dominica dock at the end of a long pier

With the arrest of two men on an Atlantis cruise in the harbor in Dominica, the question isn’t whether they were having sex, as police claim, or just sunbathing nude, as the couple claims. The question is why a gay cruise is visiting islands where homosexuality is illegal, rewarding these places with tens of thousands of dollars of purchases on each visit when there are more places in the Caribbean where homosexuality is legal and places that even recognize same-sex marriage.

And whether or not they were engaging in sexual activity, the couple was told, “You are being arrested for being gay,” according to the Washington Post. As far as the police on Dominica were concerned, every person on that ship was guilty of crime. Why didn’t they arrest them all? Because they wanted them to come ashore and spend a lot of gay dollars.

While the Caribbean has an anti-gay reputation, the laws vary from island to island. Actually, homosexuality is perfectly legal in more places than not. The differences range from recognizing same-sex marriage to life in prison. Most perplexing, perhaps is that on some islands, lesbians are legal and gays get 10 years in prison.

French and Dutch territories have the longest history of nondiscrimination. Puerto Rico’s laws were struck down along with Texas’ sodomy law in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.

One other thing — in Dominica, the ship does not dock at the shore, but down a long pier. Someone on shore was looking for trouble with binoculars to catch this couple. See which islands welcome the LGBT community after the jump:

—  David Taffet

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Up, up and away!

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SEE YOU NEXT TRIP | Brian Garrison voted and won. He plans to go to the Caribbean with his husband. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Voting in the Readers Voice Awards paid off for Brian Garrison — he won 2 tickets on American Airlines

Dallas Voice: Congratulations on winning the tickets! I’m jealous. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Garrison: Well, I work in IT, marketing and sales in various industries such as travel, investment banking and telecommunications. I’m a native-born Texan from Austin but raised in Luling, renowned for its barbecue and the Watermelon Thump Festival!

Where were you when you found out you won and how did you react? I was on the way to an early dinner and a movie. I was quite surprised because I thought it might be a solicitation call for donations.

Who is your dream travel companion? That would be my husband and partner, Cory Smith. Seriously!

Oh we believe you. That’s very sweet. Do you know where you’ll be going? I do extensive travel, domestic and international, for work and pleasure, but for this, we plan to go somewhere in the Caribbean, maybe the British Virgin Islands.

Why there? The sun, sand, sin.

You know that’s right. What prompted you to vote? Pardon the pun, but I really wanted my voice to be heard in our community.

What was your favorite category to vote in? Home and gift [Services and Shop].

Did you vote for any friends or yourself at all? No.

You might be our first unbiased voter. OK, so this is your acceptance speech…go! “It is thrilling! I’m so grateful to you all — my wonderful fans who made me a star! Mommie!” I’ve always wanted to say that in public.

And now you have. Have fun on your trip!

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright