Two arrested on gay cruise in Dominica

The men may be sentenced for up to six months if found guilty of indecent exposure and ‘buggery’

Two California men on a gay cruise of the Caribbean were arrested on Wednesday in Dominica, where sex between two men is illegal.

A local police constable said the men were seen having sex on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship by someone on the dock.

Police Constable John George said the men were arrested 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.

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 (£233) 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 without the men and headed toward St Barts.

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

Rich Campbell, the president of Atlantis Events – who is aboard the cruise – said in a phone interview that he thought the two men would be released. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment after the two were charged.

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.

The last time authorities in the Caribbean intervened on a gay cruise was in February 2011, when agents with US 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.

Lisa Hardaway, a spokeswoman for Lambda Legal, a national gay-rights legal group, said no one was available to immediately comment on the case.

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