Gay Cruise Meets Protest in Bahamas
NASSAU, Bahamas - Passengers on a gay cruise were greeted by more than 100 protesters as they stepped off their chartered ship Friday in the Bahamas.
The protesters, led by Christian pastors, gathered in a square in front of the cruise terminal and chanted, "Gay Ways are Not God's Ways!"
Cruise organizers said former talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, who promoted the voyage, was aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Norwegian Dawn. But she wasn't seen among those who disembarked.
Gregg Kominsky, a founder of cruise organizer R Family Vacations, said the passengers - 1,150 adults and 450 children - had come to have fun and that on previous trips he found most Bahamians friendly and welcoming. "We are not really here to make a statement," he said.
Gay advocacy group launches anti-discrimination TV ads
With debate raging about same-sex marriage nationwide, a Denver-based gay advocacy group has launched an ad campaign intended to steer voter attention to an even more basic gay rights issue: workplace discrimination. The Gill Foundation is testing television ads in Michigan, Florida, and Colorado featuring two men and two women who say they were fired for being gay or lesbian, or fear the consequences of being honest about their personal lives. The ads end with: "In 36 states, you can be fired just because you're gay." The group, which has given $54 million in grants to nonprofits nationwide, notes that only 14 states have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Although the U.S. Senate defeated a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, gays and lesbians face a number of inequalities every day, spokeswoman Allison Johnson said. The disparities include, she said, workplace discrimination, inability to make medical decisions for same-sex partners, and lack of Social Security benefits when a partner dies. The hope is to encourage voters to become educated about issues and candidates before the November 2 election. "There are a group of people that we need to educate who for the most part are straight and are fair-minded," Johnson said.
Kimya Ayodele of Detroit, featured in one of the ads, said she hopes the campaign "does a lot of educating." Ayodele, who has a master's degree in social work, said she was fired in 2001 as a manager at a private health care center in the Detroit area because she's a lesbian. The 36-year-old woman, who wouldn't name the center on the advice of her lawyer, said the firing followed nearly a year of threatening messages, vandalism to her car, and slurs uttered in the halls. "In the back in my mind, I knew I couldn't do much," Ayodele said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. "Five attorneys later, and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) later, there's no lawsuit."