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Bermuda Anti-Gay Wedding Law Trumps International Law

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Same Sex Couple Marriage
Cruise Line Says No To Lesbian Couple Wedding

Bermuda Anti-Gay Wedding Law Trumps International Law

Bermuda Law Trumps International Law At Sea

Jacqui Chapman was refused a wedding aboard a P&O cruise ship to her lesbian fiance, simply because they were gay. Bermuda law prohibits cruise ships registered in Bermuda from conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Chapman said she had been on at least 40 cruises since 2001 and really wanted to marry her partner on the cruise.

Gay weddings are illegal in Bermuda. Some cruise ship's changed their flag from the United Kingdom to Bermuda, just so they could perform weddings at sea. Unfortunately, that doesn't include gay weddings. Cruise cruises registered in the United Kingdom are not allowed to perform any type of wedding at sea.


Since the cruise ship is in international waters most of the voyage, it could be assumed the captain can do as he pleases at sea. However, the country where the cruise ship is registered has the final say in cruise ship operations, legal requirements, trumping the captain of the cruise ship. They also govern legal actions, such as lawsuits, for all the cruise ships sailing their flag.

Same-sex couples can legally marry in Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy and the Caribbean Netherlands which include Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.

As cruise lines extend their markets into more nations, knowing the law when cruising is very important. Bermuda isn't the only country with anti-gay laws. Same-sex sexual activity remains criminalized in Belize, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago.


Other anti-same sex laws:

Cook Islands - Male illegal Penalty: 5-14 years imprisonment
Ethiopia - Illegal Penalty: 10+ years imprisonment
India - Illegal nationwide Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment
Iran - Illegal Penalty: For men 74 lashes for immature men and death penalty for mature men of sound mind and is consenting. For women 50 lashes for women of mature sound mind and is consenting. Death penalty offense after fourth conviction.
Kuwait - Male illegal Penalty: Fines or up to 6 year prison sentence
Malaysia - Male illegal Penalty: fines, prison sentence (2-20 years), or whippings
Palestinian territories (Gaza) - Male illegal Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment
Papua New Guinea - Male illegal Penalty: 3 to 14 years imprisonment
Samoa - Male illegal Penalty: 5-7 years imprisonment
Saudi Arabia - Illegal Penalty: Prison sentences of several months to life, fines and/or whipping/flogging, castration, torture or death can be sentenced on first conviction. A second conviction merits execution.
Singapore - Male illegal Penalty: up to 2 years prison sentence
Solomon Islands - Illegal Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment
Somalia - Illegal Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment
Sudan - Illegal Penalty: Death penalty on third offense for men and on fourth offense for women
Tonga - Male illegal Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment and whipping
United Arab Emirates - Illegal under federal law Penalty: deportation, fines or prison time
Yemen - Illegal Penalty: Unmarried men punished with 100 lashes of the whip or a maximum of one year of imprisonment, married men with death by stoning. Women punished up to three years of imprisonment; where the offense has been committed under duress, the punishment is up to seven years detention

Dominican police arrested two men having sex on a Celebrity Cruises ship as it docked in Roseau back in 2012.

Related Reading: - HIV Cruise Line Discrimination Case
$90,000 paid to wrongfully terminated cruise ship crew member diagnosed with HIV
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Dophin Cruise Lines

Supporting Information & Resources:
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