Last edited: November 08, 2003


Equality Mississippi Asks Cruise Ships  to Avoid Gulfport

Gulfport officials hope to convince cruise ship executives to dock their ships in Gulfport; Equality Mississippi hopes to convince cruise ship executives to dock their ships elsewhere

Equality Mississippi, August 4, 2003
News Release—For Immediate Release
Contact: Mr. Jody Renaldo; Executive director

JACKSON, MS—Having recently launched its nationwide boycott campaign against the city of Gulfport, known as the “Not One Dime!” Campaign, the state’s gay and lesbian equal rights watchdog organization is going after the cruise ship industry to encourage them not to make use of Gulfport docking facilities.

Equality Mississippi called for a nationwide boycott of Gulfport after the City Council passed, 5 to 1, a resolution condemning the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down sodomy laws in the 13 states that still had them—including Mississippi. The resolution also gave the city’s official support to a U.S. Constitution ban on gay marriage.

Jody Renaldo, the organization’s executive director, says that going after the potential cruise ship business is just the start of things to come.

“The cruise lines are well known for hosting numerous ‘gay cruises’ and we definitely know them to be gay and lesbian friendly. We are going to make sure that the cruise lines are well aware that the city in which they are looking at bringing their ships and business to, discriminates against its gay and lesbian passengers. Council man Billy Hewes said of our annual equal rights conference that he didn’t want 800 to 1200 queers in Gulfport. I wonder if he could imagine a cruise ship full of queers coming into Gulfport. Until the city makes amends on this resolution they passed or until Billy Hewes is no longer associated with the City of Gulfport, they won’t have to worry about queers coming to Gulfport and they won’t have to worry about counting our gay dollars.”

The organization has opened a special section on its web site dedicated to the boycott. There, they have contact information for the major cruise lines and are asking people to contact the cruise lines themselves to encourage them to dock elsewhere.

Carnival Cruise Lines newest and largest cruise ship, the Conquest, made use of Gulfport Harbor for several weeks because of low hanging power lines that prevented it from getting to its homeport in New Orleans. Sources say the ship could make Gulfport its permanent location.

Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line and Carnival Corporation all visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast last year for a daylong tour of the port, tourist attractions and casinos. Since the tour, the lines have continued to talk to a Mississippi Gulf Coast cruise ship task force. Port officials hoped to convince cruise ship executives to dock their ships in Gulfport.


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