NEW YORK -- Several gay rights' groups threatened to boycott the Cayman Islands after its government denied Norwegian Cruise Lines' Leeward permission to dock there on Feb. 1 with a gay charter group on board.

Rich Campbell, president of Los Angeles-based Atlantis Events, which is chartering the ship for that sailing, said his office has been inundated with faxes and e-mail criticizing the statement issued earlier this month by Thomas C. Jefferson, Cayman Islands' minister of tourism. It stated, in part, that "we cannot count on this group to uphold the standards of appropriate behavior expected of visitors." That statement was followed by another from the Cayman Islands Government Information Services, which indicated the ship was refused docking rights because the port would be at or over capacity on Feb. 1.

Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based gay rights organization, asked the government to reconsider its decision and warned that a tourism boycott of the British colony remained a possibility.

The New York-based gay travel newsletter Out & About called for a travel boycott in its current issue. Editor Billy Kolber-Stuart called the decision "an act of most blatant discrimination" and urged all travelers to divert their travel away from the Cayman Islands.

James Fuhrman at Star World Travel in West Hollywood, Calif. said that "this kind of blatant discrimination cannot be tolerated or rewarded by responsible travel agents. I won't send anyone there, regardless of their sexual preferences."

Cayman Airways and Cayman Islands Reservations Services could not be reached for comment.

According to Atlantis Events, the Leeward will instead call at Belize during its February charter sailing.

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