In Brief

Cunard faces boycott after canceling gay weddings

P&O was also forced to stop same-sex marriages on ships registered in Bermuda

Gay travellers are threatening to boycott the world’s largest cruise line after it cancelled all same-sex weddings on its ships.

Carnival Corporation, the cruise firm that owns P&O and Cunard in Britain, had to stop gay weddings on its 24 ships that are registered in Bermuda. The island legalised gay marriage in May last year, but the law was repealed last month, making it the first nation to revoke same-sex marriage.

LGBT travel agencies and activists are calling for the cruise line to reregister the ships in a country where gay marriage is legal.

“If P&O is not prepared to do something progressive about it, then it is as bad as the Bermudan government,” said Nick Harding-McKay, director of Travel Designers, one of the biggest LGBT travel agencies. “A boycott may be the way to go forward because companies do listen to money.”

Some US gay rights groups and activists, including talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, have called for LGBT travellers to boycott Bermuda in response to the ban.

A P&O Cruises spokesman said: "Carnival Corporation believes that same-sex marriage should be legalised in Bermuda and therefore we are opposed to the new law. We are currently working with local interest groups in Bermuda and elsewhere to explore options in relation to this."

Because Bermuda is an overseas dependent territory, the UK government technically has the power to overturn Bermuda’s same-sex marriage ban.

Foreign Office minister Harriett Baldwin said last month that it “would not be appropriate to use this power to block legislation, which can only can be used where there is a legal or constitutional basis for doing so, and even then only in exceptional circumstances”.

Labour MP Chris Bryant said this failure to act “totally undermines UK efforts to advance LGBT rights”.

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