At the end of March I was shocked to learn that two gay men from an Atlantis Cruise had been arrested in the Caribbean island of Dominica. The local authorities must have known it was a “gay cruise line” before it docked, which led me to question why, having allowed several hundred gay men into their country, they then decided to arrest two of them. The answer came a few days later when photos of the couple in question emerged, showing them butt-naked, on their balcony, in plain view of everyone on and around the pier, in flagrante delicto. “Well, what did you expect?” was my response.
As someone who has travelled to more than 150 countries, I am used to treating State Department travel advisories with a pinch of salt. I’ve been to dozens of countries where homosexuality is illegal, and where our government warns people not to go. Through common sense, I’ve managed to enjoy my visits. I’ve only ever been arrested once, and that was for entering a country without a valid visa. It had nothing to do with being gay.
via Laurence Watts: 10 Breathtaking Sights You’ll Miss If You Boycott Anti-Gay Countries (PHOTOS).
We’re another day closer to tax day. If you haven’t filed your tax returns yet, it’s time to get on it. As you get the forms ready, we’ll shed a little more light on the unfair tax burden LGBT taxpayers face. All week we’ve said the lack of marriage equality is the reason for the tax disparity. It is clear that repealing DOMA and making marriage equality a reality in all 50 states is the solution. The anti-equality leadership in Congress needs to hear from us.
To personalize our tax struggles, every day leading up to tax day we will also release a fact of the day on unfair taxation. We encourage you to use Facebook and Twitter to spread the message. Wednesday we told you an average retired same-sex couple will be denied more than $8,000 a year in Social Security survivor benefits upon the death of the higher-earning spouse after retirement. Yesterday we told you same-sex partners and spouses of Armed Forces members are denied military benefits that straight couples receive.
Today’s fact of the day: LGBT families pay $1,100 more on average in taxes a year for health care coverage. #gaytax #lgbt #healthcare #repealdoma
To raise awareness of the inequities same-sex couples face on tax day, HRC this week released an issue brief on Federal Taxation, illustrating how same-sex couples are denied equal treatment under the tax law, are forced to spend more time and money filing their taxes, and face inconsistent interpretation and enforcement of IRS guidance and practice related to adoption
via Tax Day Countdown: More Facts On the Unfair Tax Burden for LGBT Taxpayers | Backstory Blog | Human Rights Campaign.
The Atlantis Events 2012 Southern Caribbean cruise made major headlines this week when two passengers were arrested ONBOARD the ship (The Celebrity Summit) while it was docked in the Caribbean Island of Dominica. It is said they were originally charged with buggery after having been seen from the Port of Roseau having sex on their balcony, this charge was later dropped and the men were charged with Indecent Exposure. The men from Palm Springs CA were kept in jail overnight went before a Judge the next morning, ultimately they were fined and taken to the airport to leave the island.
This series of events has stirred hundreds of comments on various social media outlets as well as major news coverage. One of the most common concerns is why would a gay group even visit a destination that has anti gay laws on the books? There are many different opinions on this, there are many Caribbean islands that are still very conservative and while these antiquated laws are still on the books they are rarely if ever enforced. There are also some destinations that are quite homophobic and are indeed dangerous to visit one being Jamaica where violence against its gay citizens is a serious problem. The fact is if you desire to only visit destinations that have no anti gay laws your list would be quite short. There were 14 states that had some type of sodomy law on the books until 2003 when they were struck down by the Supreme Court.
Others feel visiting these destinations allows the residents to see that Gay people are just like everyone else, it is unfortunate that these two men had to put a black mark on the entire cruise and further perpetuate the negative gay stereotypes so many people believe. The exercised very poor judgement this day, even if they were not engaged in a sex act they do state they were naked or less clothed than they should have been. These men feel they were arrested for being gay, if this was the case why were the other 2000 passengers not arrested?
Do your homework before your next vacation and know the laws of the land and don’t break those laws, these guys may have felt since they were other ship they cold not get in trouble but when the the ship is in port it is under the laws of that land. Exercise good judgement especially in a foreign lands where you may not have the same liberty’s as back home. The last place you want to be is kicked off a ship and locked up in a third world jail cell.
Visit this link for information on same sex laws in countries you may be visiting.