Gay cruise ship turned away by Morocco docks in Spain

EFE – The cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam, on its present voyage catering to a gay clientele, docked Sunday in the southern

Spanish port of Malaga after Moroccan authorities prohibited it from making its scheduled port of call in Casablanca.

The vessel, carrying 1,564 passengers and 869 crewmembers, docked about 7:25 a.m. and was scheduled to depart from Malaga later in the day, Malaga Port Authority spokesmen told Efe.

The RSVP Vacations travel agency, which specializes in organizing tourist trips for gay and lesbian customers, said Saturday in a letter to its clients that its agent in the port of Casablanca had reported that “the authorities have cancelled the scheduled July 1 visit despite having previously confirmed it.”

The agency said that they considered this to be “disappointing news” and added that the decision was made after the “visit of a gay cruise ship” turned into “a public and potentially controversial matter.”

The ship, which belongs to the U.S. company Holland America Line, had scheduled a program for its stay in Casablanca that included a visit to the Hassan II Mosque and to several souks – or traditional marketplaces – in the city.

After the stop in Casablanca, which had been supposed to last for about 12 hours, the cruise ship was due to sail to Cadiz, also in southern Spain, and then to continue on to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, then to the eastern Spanish city of Valencia and finally to end its journey in Barcelona.

Organizers emphasized the “historic welcoming tolerance for gay tourists” in Morocco, despite the fact that the religion – Islam – and the laws of the North African country punish homosexuality. EFE

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Source – Fox News Latino

This was an outrageous and offensive event.

It is obviously homophobia whipped up by local media hysteria, despite no official government ban. “Morocco’s Tourism Minister Lahcen Haddad said no official decision had been made to prevent the ship from stopping in Morocco.”

Too bad the ship captain (and RSVP) didn’t take a passenger vote on this. A landing could have caused a stir in port that might have awakened Morocco to its discriminatory policies–and awakened Holland American Cruise Lines (and RSVP) to it’s inadvertent support of anti-gay governments. Refusing to land cruise ships in homophobic countries (especially in Africa and Caribbean) can mean the loss of big tourist dollars and force these regimes to reconsider their irrational and anti-human rights policies.

Being gay Is, unfortunately, political and we all need to push for equality, even when on holiday. We are always human and always feel the pain of intolerance and rejection.

Richard Ammon–a LGBT international travel and culture website