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2004-07-15 10:21:06

BCC Responds To Statement On Gay Cruise Protests

The BCC took exception to Mr. Wilchcombe's statement, ''We live in a democracy, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and expression thereof.''

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilcombe is coming under fire by the Bahamas Christian Council for his recent statements on protests against gay cruises voyaging to The Bahamas.

In a press statement sent to The Guardian on Friday, Rev. Dr. William Thompson, president of the BCC, said comments made by Mr Wilchcombe were "being viewed with grave concern by the the Bahamas Christian Council and the vast majority of Bahamians."

Rev. Thompson said the BCC took great exception to the statement made in the July 3 publication of The Tribune where Mr Wilchcombe was quoted as saying, "We live in a democracy, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and expression thereof."

Rev. Thompson said while The Bahamas is a democratic nation, "it is not true that everyone is entitled to express their opinion in any way they wish, this would result in anarchy."

"A democracy, while safeguarding the concerns of the minority, is committed to carrying out the will of the majority of its citizens," he said.

Rev. Thompson claimed that the majority of Bahamian citizenry rejected homosexuality and therefore the leaders of the nation needed to be committed to seeing the wishes of the majority realised. "More importantly, we are not dealing with an opinion, we are instead dealing with a deviant lifestyle that is offensive to the majority of Bahamians," he claimed. "Visitors of to The Bahamas must conduct themselves in accordance with established Bahamian standards."

Further, Mr Wilchcombe was also quoted in the publication as saying, "Bahamians must embrace all those that come to enjoy what we have to offer."

In response to this statement, Rev. Thompson said Bahamians as hosts had the legal and moral right to define their public standards of morality and that it was the tourists who had to embrace these standards and not vice versa.

Pastor Mario Moxey, chairman of the Save The Bahamas Campaign, led a massive demonstration in Rawson Square Sunday in protest of the July 16 "family value" gay cruise. This five-day cruise, "R Family Vacation," is being promoted by comedienne and former talk show host Rosie O' Donnell, who reportedly announced that she and her life partner, Kelli O'Donnell, will bring their four children.

Apart from being advertised as a cruise of sun and fun with "family values," the same-sex seafarers will also engage in workshops addressing gay adoption, artificial insemination, and surrogacy.

The vessel, a part of the Norwegian Cruise Line, hopes to attract some 2,200 gay and lesbian parents, children and their relatives on the voyage from New York. The vessel is also scheduled to dock in Florida.

By LaKeisha Mcsweeney, The Nassau Guardian 

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