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Two gay cruise passengers arrested

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

Police constable John George said police boarded the cruise ship and arrested the two men on suspicion of indecent exposure.

He identified the men as John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, but did not provide their hometowns.

Mr George said the men were seen having sex on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship by someone on the dock. The two were later charged with indecent exposure and are scheduled to appear before a magistrate.

If found guilty, they could be fined 370 US dollars (£233) each and face up to six months in jail.

The ship carrying about 2,000 passengers departed from Puerto Rico on Saturday and arrived in Dominica on Wednesday. It departed for St Barts without the men, who are being held in a cell at police headquarters in the capital of Roseau.

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

President Rich Campbell, who is aboard the cruise, said in a phone interview earlier that he thought the two men would be released. He later said in an email that the company has organised many trips to Dominica and would "happily return".

"Many countries and municipalities that gay men visit and live in have antiquated laws on their books," he said. "These statutes don't pose a concern to us in planning a tourist visit."

The pastor of Dominica's Trinity Baptist Church, Randy Rodney, praised the police for their intervention: "I am very pleased that the police were called in and have arrested the people in question. I have warned about gay tourism and its implications for Dominica."

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