Rosie’s gay family cruise faces Christian protest

Christian activists in Bermuda have protested against a gay family cruise that is scheduled to stop at the island in early July.

American talk show host Rosie O’Donnell, who is openly gay, will host the cruise which departs from New York on July 7.

The island’s African Methodist denomination attacked the gay visitors during its annual conference earlier this month.

In a statement the group said: “The AME Church opposes the same sex lifestyle of many of the anticipated passengers of the cruise hosted by Rosie O’Donnell.

“The lifestyle is incompatible with the word of God and the Christian moral fibre of our beautiful Bermuda.”

Last year the British overseas territory’s House of Assembly voted against adding sexuality to the Human Rights Act.

Renne Webb MP, a former tourist minister and gay rights activist, tried to pass the new law and said of the Christian protesters:

“I think that the church has the right to oppose whatever it wants to oppose within the context of its religion. However, it cannot dictate the tourism policy of the island.

“And within the context of our tourism policy we welcome all tourists to our shore. We do not ask them before their arrival whether they are homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual,” she told The Royal newspaper.

Rosie O’Donnell has been arranging cruises for gay and lesbian families since 2004 and her success was documented in 2006 in the HBO show All Abroad Rosie’s Family Cruise.

The inaugural cruise of 1,500 people set sail on a seven-day trip to the Caribbean on one of the largest cruise ships in the world.

This cruise was particularly special for Rosie as she had only recently married her long time girlfriend Kelli Carpenter in San Francisco.

The couple have three adopted children and are expecting a fourth, who was conceived via sperm donation.