By Helen Pierpoint
A GAY cruise liner has been forced to dock in Malaga after allegedly being turned away by Moroccan authorities.
The 1,564 passengers on board the MS Nieuw Amsterdam were welcomed into Malaga after being told their stay in Morocco had been cancelled due to ‘security reasons’.
According to sources, the cruise’s arrival on Moroccan soil had been causing controversy in the Muslim country for weeks.
The predominantly homosexual passengers, half of whom were from theUS, were due to visit the Hasan Mosque and explore the markets of Casablanca.
The organisers of the cruise, Holland American Line and RSVP Vacations which specialises in the gay market, point the finger at the Moroccan authorities for the unexpected diversion.
However, the Moroccan tourist minister denies vetoing the entry of the cruise-liner into Casablanca on grounds of sexual orientation.
Betty Lachgar, founder of an organisation which defends homosexual rights said: ‘’It’s a shame- an attack against the freedom of movement and discriminatory.’’
Currently homosexuality is considered a crime in Morocco with offenders facing up to three years in prison.
The news comes as Spain’sConstitutional Court prepares to decide whether the legalisation of gay marriage is constitutional or not.
Gay marriage was legalised in Spain in 2005.