Did Morocco Rescind Its Invitation to Gay Cruise Line?

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com July 02 2012 4:11 PM ET

Organizers of a gay cruise line are apologizing to 2,100 passengers aboard a Mediterranean voyage who were planning to dock in Casablanca, Morocco, but told they could not by local authorities.

According to RSVP Vacations, the port agent notified the company that local authorities have barred the ship from landing in the city, despite being previously approved to do so. The visit to Morocco on Sunday would have been the first stop in a Muslim country by an all-gay cruise. It would have been the first and only non-European stop on the trip.

"For all of us, this is a very disappointing development," RSVP organizers said in a statement, according to Reuters. "It was ultimately the decision by local authorities in Moroco that has necessitated us to adjust our plans."

However, Morocco tourism minister Lahcen Haddad told Reuters that there was no such directive from the government to prevent the ship from arriving in Casablanca. "We don't ban cruise ships here and we never ask our visitors about their sexual preferences," he said to Reuters. Haddad is from the secular Popular Movement Party, which came into power in December.