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Gay men arrested for public sex on cruise

March 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two Southern California men were arrested for having sex while on a gay cruise, but authorities say they are not victims of discrimination.

The Palm Springs residents, identified as John Hart and Dennis Mayer, were taken into custody on Wednesday while the ship was at port in Dominica.

Initial reports said the men were arrested on anti-sodomy laws, which sparked outrage in West Hollywood, the city where the cruise organizer, Atlantis Events, is based. But it turns out the men were not singled out because of their sexual orientation.

The president of Atlantis Events, which bills itself as the world's largest producer of gay and lesbian cruises, said in written statement, "Two of our guests were seen engaging in a sexual act outdoors on their balcony in full public view of the port and town. Not only did many of the residents witness the act, several of our guests saw this incident as well. "

Hart and Mayer pleaded guilty on Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of public indecency and lewd conduct, and paid a $900 fine.

According to an Associated Press report, homosexuality is illegal in Dominica. And many on the streets of West Hollywood were upset that a gay cruise would dock in a country where being gay is a crime, even if it didn't have anything to do with the arrests.

"It just sounds kind of weird that something like that would actually transpire, but I do believe that it could have to do with the fact that the individuals were of a gay nature," said Lasalle Lasalle of West Hollywood.

But the cruise organizer stressed in his statement, "Please understand that the complaint and subsequent arrests had nothing to do with the guests' sexual orientation, nor was any "anti-gay" law invoked. These guests were engaged in behavior that is inappropriate in any port of call, or major city for that matter."

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