Marriage update – Central America and the Caribbean
January 25th, 2013
It’s getting marriagey all over the place. And it’s also getting hard to keep track of what is going on where. So here is an update to help (which will probably be outdated by the time I hit “publish”).
Costa Rica – Gay Rights advocates met last month with the administration to discuss a proposal to provide specific couple benefits. It may be early yet to know how far or how quickly this could go, but it was a positive step. There is a strong opposition coming from (can you imagine?) the Catholic Church.
Other than Costa Rica, the outlook on same-sex couple rights in Central American looks dim.
In many of the Caribbean Islands, LGBT people live in a state of oppression, often subjected to social ostracization and occasional violence. There are a few bright spots.
Since 2009, the Dutch islands of Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire have recognized same-sex marriages conducted in the Netherlands. But last month the tiny island of Saba finalized changes to their laws to become the first Caribbean Island to offer marriages. The other five are expected to follow.
Two men on Atlantis cruise arrested in Dominica
March 21st, 2012
The details are somewhat sketchy, but it appears that two California men were arrested in the Caribbean island of Dominica today for “suspicion of indecent exposure and buggery”.
As best I can tell, this arrest was based on a Dominican making a report about activity observed to have happened on the ship itself. I’m uncertain as to whether it was on the balcony of their stateroom or elsewhere and exactly what the police consider to be criminal.
Additionally, it is as yet unclear if there was any sexual activity going on or whether this is simply unbridled homophobia. A local paper hints that the mere existence of a gay cruise was offensive:
The visit of the cruise ship to Dominica apparently carrying only male passengers is generating heated debate online, especially on Dominica News Online after the website posted the story earlier Wednesday.
The ship evoked mixed reaction from observers who noted that “only men” were disembarking from the “Celebrity X Cruises” ship docked at the bayfront.
Some members of the public gathered there appeared not amused with the development.
If this was an incident of public indecency, then the men have no excuse. But if this was official sponsorship of homophobia, perhaps it is time that some island populations come to a stark discovery that (at least based on my experience) cruise ship passengers are among the most gay supportive demographics you can find.
UPDATE: It appears that the two passengers were naked on their balcony in view of the pier and the town and apparently seen by several locals (though perhaps not engaged in buggery, which was dropped). They apologized and paid a $900 fine and were released.
Perhaps they had a low stateroom. Perhaps the locals had binoculars. Or maybe they were being really really obvious. But generally speaking it’s pretty hard to make much out on the balcony of modern monster-size cruise ships. Most have a plexiglass partition half way up anyway.