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Jan 30, 1998

Gay cruise arrives Sunday

With only two days left before the arrival of the M.S. Leeward, the general attitude seems to be one of watchful waiting. After an initial venting of homophobic steam an increasing number of liberal voices have been raised in defense of civil rights for homosexuals and the nine hundred or so visitors on the cruise ship in particular. For the media the issue has not been an easy one. For one thing homosexuals have been an integral and accepted part of the Belizean broadcasting industry almost since its inception, and for another, the line between reporting and advocacy is often not as clearly drawn as we sometimes wish it would be. Most media houses have played the issue fairly close to the chest, with the “Pulse,” as could be expected, offering muted support for its government, while the P.U.P. “Belize Times” has pretty much refrained from getting involved. The major exception has been the “Amandala,” which has loudly led the anti-ship charge from the beginning and has long lamented what it calls the growing and dangerous influence of gays in Belizean society. Here at News Five we have been accused of bias in the opposite direction, for pointing out the hypocrisy of some anti-gay groups such as the teachers union and certain evangelical churches. Just for the record, a quick poll of our three person news staff finds that none of them has any problem with the gay cruise and are a little bit embarrassed that it became such a major issue. Based on the principle of majority rule, News Five officially welcomes the M.S. Leeward to Belize and congratulates the Government for standing firm behind Tourism Minister Henry Young.

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