Gay cruise not so gay after two arrested on "buggery" in Caribbean

Via The Associated Press, news that two men on a cruise from Palm Springs through the Virgin Islands were arrested Wednesday in Dominica, where sex between two men—"buggery"— is a crime. According to their lawyer, the couple was enjoying the cruise, had downed a few cocktails, and were swept up by the beautiful scenery... so they spontaneously got it on in clear view of folks on land.

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. 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."

Cruise ticket buyer, beware. (thanks, Antinous!)


  1. So, can Atlantis be held accountable for helping to put these two men – and possibly other gay, male passengers, in harms way??!

    1. They better plan on paying that fine if they want to stay in business.  Not that I think that they deserve to stay in business. 

      1. I want to know what the US Ambassador is up to. ¬†’cause uh, I think we should probably be invested in not letting neighboring countries commit human rights violations on US citizens.

        1.  Because we have such a flawless record in our treatment of visitors from other countries?

          1. Oh, well, if there are problems we should totally stop trying to do the right thing. I mean, heck, injustice should be repaid with injustice or at least allowing injustice to stand. That is reasonable.

      2. Why should they not deserve to stay in business? Removing all the gay-related parts of the news, this was a case of two people being charged with indecent exposure, and has nothing to do with the cruise organizers. 

        1. Removing all the gay-related parts of the news, this was a case of two people being charged with indecent exposure

          Why would I remove the whole context of the incident? Remove the whole patriarchy thing in Saudi Arabia and women who are arrested for driving are just scofflaws.


          “The total experience was horrendous,” he said. “They told us that they did not like us, that they did not like gay people.”…”He said: ‘You’re being arrested for being gay. We’re arresting you for the crime of buggery,'” Mayer said….During the interrogation, the police official threatened to take them to a clinic and have them medically examined for proof of homosexual activity, Mayer said. “He said, you know, we’re looking for specific things, fluids, bruising, things of that nature,” Mayer said.

          “The treatment was inhumane,” Mayer said. “We were detained for approximately 26 hours, and 19 of those locked in a cement cell, which had no running water, no toilet, no lights. It stunk of feces and urine. It was infested with cockroaches, ants and bugs.” Mayer said police brought in government officials to look at them. “They paraded many people by to look in on us as if we were some type of animal, which was quite humiliating,” he said. “People got great joy in the pleasure of taunting us.”

          On Thursday morning, police drove them to the courthouse in the capital of Roseau, passing through an angry crowd, Mayer said. “They were chanting and banging on the police vehicle. They were screaming things,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, other than in movies. Both my partner and I really feared for our safety.”

  2. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure you’ll run the risk of get arrested for engaging in public sexual intercourse (homo or hetero) in most places. ¬†Except maybe Chatsworth or Simi Valley.

    1. ¬†They threatened you getting arrested for sex on the beaches of Cancun. I’m such a rebel.

      Also – never buy weed in Jamaica, especially in tourist areas. They are usually cops.

    2. ¬†It seems they were charged with public indecency in addition to a specific charge of “buggery.”

      The former carried a fine, which I think is entirely reasonable if they were outside, and not in their room. The latter is the one that merits discussion.

  3. Would the law have come down as harshly if it was a hetero couple?

    I mean, indecent exposure is a thing in a lot of places. I don’t think being prosecuted for that in and of itself would be terribly controversial or surprising–as long as anyone of any orientation would have been treated the same.

    I think it’s stupid that the cruise line for a gay cruise would be stopping at a place with these sorts of laws still on the books, regardless. I know that I for one would refuse to travel to a place where gay people were treated this way, the same way I would refuse to visit a place where black people were barred. Discriminate against one of us, you discriminate against all of us.

    If they want the tourist dollars, they can join the 21st century.

    1. Canada has these laws on the books. If a gay couple or a straight couple engage in anal sex in public it’s two crimes in one.

        1. Yes it does. Read your link. “Canadian law now permits anal sex by consenting parties above the age of 18, provided no more than two people are present.” If people can see you doing it they are present.

          @Antinous I think the Republicans are doing enough beaver patrolling for everyone.

          1. Why does Canadian law care how many people are ass-fucking at the same time and place? Doesn’t the government have some beavers to patrol?

          2. ¬†I also noticed this bit about China in the wikipedia article: “The Chinese Supreme Court ruled in 1957 that voluntary sodomy was not a criminal act. Private sex in any form between two consenting adults does not violate laws.”

            Note: It took the US supreme court until 2003 to reach that conclusion.

    2. Hm, dunno… I often visit an unnamed country that is stuck so far in the past it actually has laws on the books allowing them to sentence people to death and that has recently decided that habeas corpus is for wimps.

      Every country is idiotic in its own way. I guess if you want to avoid other countries’ idiocies you’ll have to stay home in the familiar confines of your own country’s idiocies.

      Overall traveling is very beneficial though, whether it’s for business or pleasure, so you just take the risk (at least I do).

      1. Thanks for contributing an example of the Nirvana Fallacy, but you forgot to reference the genocide of Native Americans when you were dismissing the concerns of GLBT people who would like to have equal rights under the law.

        1. No fallacy, thank you very much. Not dismissing anything; just because there is a law you don’t like (for good reasons, no doubt; valid concerns either way) doesn’t mean you can’t visit a place. That’s all I’m saying. And guess what, if I visit that unnamed country I’m not on equal footing with its citizens and don’t enjoy many constitutional rights but I don’t run around telling people to avoid that country. Perspective, people, perspective!

          Edit: also, no stupid sodomy laws in my country, unlike a bunch of US states, so I’m the last one to condone that.

          Context was: visiting a country as a foreigner. When in Rome…

          Nice try though.

          1. …just because there is a law you don’t like…

            Nice equating of brutal repression of minorities with matters of personal taste.

          2. Dude, the only thing I replied to was the “don’t visit a country if there is backwards and barbaric legislation” stance. If you wanna go overboard and interpret the hell out of that, by all means, be my guest.

            But hey, next time you are sentenced to death even though you’re innocent (oh right, you aren’t black!), tell me how highly you value the near-universal right to not be murdered by your own government (how’s that for “brutal?”).¬†“Join the 21st 20th century” indeed.

            Just to be extra-clear, both things are incredibly, horribly, unimaginably wrong.¬†Not equating or excusing anything, just against unwarranted knee-jerking. If you want to visit a country, go there but be aware of local laws (even backwards ones); if you don’t wanna go, stay home. A BS holier-than-thou attitude doesn’t do anyone any good.

            ’nuff said.

    1. You think Palm Springs is going to let Wyoming get an advantage in a land-locked desert naval arms race?  No way!

      “We Want Eight and We Won’t Wait!”

    2. It doesn’t rain here often, but when it does, we have a pretty good chance of sailing all the way to the Pacific.

  4. You’d figure a company “specializing” in gay travel would take things like this into account when charting their course.

    @boingboing-b80660fb2b4b9dc65185a0ddd3c1df56:disqus You would know right? I mean you watched it set sail from your front porch?  :P

    1. The possibility that their customers would engage in semi-public sex acts? That seems like something that anyone who serves sufficient volumes of alcohol and provides lodging to anyone needs to be concerned with.

  5. The same thing¬† would have happened if they had public sex in Canada. “Anal Intercourse” is a crime that a person will usually only be charged with in conjunction with another charge, such as sexual assault or indecent acts. In other words: public sex is bad, public anal sex is worse somehow. They should have saved it for their cabin.

    1. Because the balcony isn’t part of the cabin, and we keep getting conflicting reports.

      1. If people could see them, who didn’t want to see them, then what they did was wrong. That being said, the whole buggery law is stupid.

        1. I don’t want to see Westboro, so I can have them removed?

          As is often said about TV and Radio – if you don’t like the content change the channel.¬†¬† The people who witnessed this were not held hostage in an arena forced to watch this couple on the jumbotron.

          1. If Westboro members are having sex in public, then yes you can have them removed. If they picket a funeral in Canada they will be arrested. (They have been stopped at the border before.)

          2. Public sex is frowned upon, just like public nudity. You cannot seriously be arguing that I have to just look the other way if a couple is having sex at the table next to me at the restaurant.

          3. Vincent¬† – Comparing a balcony attached to their room to a table in a restaurant…
            We still are unsure if they were in the room with the blinds open during the sex, if they kissed on the balcony and forgot to close the shades or if they setup a sling and were having hardcore screaming sex on the balcony.¬† The last one would be bad form, but without all the details everyone wants to just run with they were shooting porn on the balcony bent over the railing hooting and hollering…

            Having been threatened for committing the atrocity of kissing someone I was dating in public, I just want more facts before I crucify people and just assume the absolute worst about them… but maybe I’m just to sensitive to that issue.¬† People with ball bats make you worry…

  6. … “buggery,” a term equivalent to sodomy on the island.

    Surely this is a term equivalent to sodomy in the English language.

    Maybe its an island thing. Looking at the wikipedia page I see that that the act of anal intercourse, referred to as “buggery”, could have gotten you in trouble in Great Britain until 2003, Ireland until 1993 and Hong Kong until 1990.

    1. Filk time:
      Buggery and Sodomy
      together in perfect harmony
      side by side on my piano keyboard
      oh lord, why don’t we?

      ->Just not in Dominica (or Jamaica, etc.)

    2. I think one or the other (I want to say ‘buggery’) was a more inclusive charge that subsumed sex with animals as well, while the more tightly defined ‘sodomy’ was exclusively teh buttsex.¬†

    3. Indeed. And besides, “sex between two men” is not “buggery” as the article says. Arguably sex between two men could not involve buggery (i.e. oral) and a man and a woman can carry out buggery.

      1. ¬†The word ‘buggery’ may be more specific, but in the US some sodomy laws (all struck down in 2003) had defined sodomy in ways that included oral sex.

  7. The fact that a “Gay Cruise” company would KNOWINGLY be willing to put their clients at risk to make some money is disgusting.

    Come on our FABULOUS cruise, just do not show any signs of affection or being gay in these 5 stops of our 6 stop tour.  They locals might beat you, arrest you, or worse.

    Well its really sad our customers got screwed like this, but we will be bringing more people back.  We want them to spend money in places where people hate them.  We see no problem bringing gays to places that have laws that make them criminals for who they.

    Because now people know they can claim they saw things and cause havoc for those dirty dirty evil homosexuals on the ships it will be a wonderful place to stop.

    The idea of going on a gay cruise never appealed much to me before, and now its hugely less appealing.¬† Being someplace where I thought I could let my guard down and have fun without worry… only to discover that isn’t the case.

    1. re: “Come on our FABULOUS cruise, just do not show any signs of affection or being gay in these 5 stops of our 6 stop tour.¬† They locals might beat you, arrest you, or worse.”

      My uncle went on one of these cruises. He had a… gay old time.

      Seriously though – there were no issues the whole trip. The stops make their living from tourists, gay and straight. When you have a whole boat full of gays come on shore, you better get over it or take that day off.

      So I don’t know why these two were singled out. Maybe it was much worse than some discrete sex. Maybe they had been an problem before this. I dunno. My uncle didn’t go into any sordid details, but he isn’t one to not share when he encounters grief for being gay.

      1. What worries me is a company would issue a statement discussing how they would happily return when its been made kinda clear by the Tourism Minister that things seem to be changing –

        “Dominica Tourism Minister Ian Douglas said that tourists should abide by local laws regardless of their religious or sexual orientation, and that cruise ship officials should make passengers aware of these laws.”It cannot be the responsibility of Dominica to screen guests and tourists before they come into the country,” he said. “It is expected that any time people come to a country, they will respect the laws of the country.” Gay Caribbean cruises have been popular for several years despite hostility to homosexuality on certain islands, especially in Jamaica, Barbados and the Cayman Islands.”

        I can get plenty of hostility at home thanks.

        Without more details about the situation, one can not have a fully formed picture of what happened. 
        The simple fact that they take you to places where people might be completely hostile to you seems like a bad idea. 
        Taking them to where there have laws against how the people on the boat tend to have sex seems like a stupid idea.
        The fact that a couple got busy (in the room, on the balcony, c. all of the above) resulted in them being arrested, tried, fined, and shipped home on a plane is not an outcome for a happy vacation.

    2. Yeah, but the whole cruise industry is riding high on a wave of great PR lately. Anything sink yet this week?

  8. “They were struck by the beautiful mountains, the clean and clear fresh air…”
    Same thing happened in “Brokeback Mountain” too.

  9. What? No Cheech and Chong reference? “You ‘ave been charged with the ‘enious crime of buggery on the high seas!”

  10. I don’t see the controversy here. I really don’t. I think trying to make it one, does this cause more harm than good.

    About 6 years ago a co-worker of mine was arrested for shagging his best-friend’s sister on a cruise (Apparently, in plain view of curious onlookers).¬† This isn’t exclusive to gay couples…..its more of a common sense/decency thing.

    If you’re on your yacht sailing into the sunset I don’t see where you could go wrong but, who actually thinks it’s not going to bother anyone if you bump uglies in public? Gay or no….not a good idea unless you’re willing to accept the consequences and live with them¬† (Something I admire in a person).

    1. ¬†Yup, shagging in front of people is just rude, I don’t think it should an arrestable offence, but it should be discouraged,¬† there’s usually a bush or something you can hide behind.

      (of course, I am being hypocritical here, but in my defence I was young then mmkay?)

      1. ¬†“Yup, shagging in front of people is just rude”

        Not unless you paid the entrance fee and left your key in the basket

  11. Because I know Dominica, I think the gender of the couple is relevant.
    I’ve had a family home in Dominica and stayed there several times. It is a wonderful country, exquisitely beautiful and the least spoiled island in the Caribbean. Jungles, volcanoes, waterfalls and deserted beaches – much of Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed there as it is so unchanged.
    I thought of moving there, and even had the opportunity but decided against it.My reason? Many of the otherwise delightful people there are terrifyingly homophobic. While I was there once, a gay cruise had recently been refused permission to dock. I heard no-one criticise this decision, although the Island lives largely from cruise-ship income. Most thought it a splendid and worthy decision.It’s not only vile and objectionable, it’s also commercially stupid of the Island to present this ugly image. Several conservative churches are very powerful there. I wonder if there is a link? :(

    1. It’s also commercially stupid not to sell mustard gas, ammunition and surveillance gear to oppressive regimes, ¬†yet I think people usually applaud when they government puts controls on that.¬†

      1. ¬†I see what your getting at, but there’s a flaw in your reasoning. Munitions that kill people invariably reduce the size of your future market. You can sell people goods and services for their whole lives, but once you sell the weapon that kills them, that possibility vanishes. Not a good long term strategy.

        More importantly, the two cases (persecution of a particular sexual orientation vs. abuse of deadly weapons) are not morally equivalent.

        1. People are a replenishable resource. 30 years war, 2 World wars – yet there are more Europeans thans before.

          But I wasn’t going at the moral thing in any case, but just the “economical” one. I don’t have to agree with their values to emphasize with them wanting to keep their values instead of a few bucks. These island may make economical use of tourism, but that doesn’t make them some theme park employees who best cater to rich Westener’s whims, if they don’t want to get fired.

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