Maldives Regulates Tourist Marriage Vows After Incident
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- The Maldives has set rules for conducting marriage ceremonies for tourists drawn to the islands' white-sand beaches, after being embarrassed by a celebrant who heaped abuse on a Swiss couple renewing their vows.
A government statement issued Thursday said hotels that breach the new rules will be fined US$78,000.
The vows must be supervised by resort management, and couples can choose the language and translation of the ceremony.
The celebrant and the participants also are prohibited from engaging in any activity "disrespectful or degrading to any religion, Maldivian culture or custom," the statement said.
Last week, a marriage ceremony video posted on YouTube with English subtitles showed the marriage celebrant heaping abuse and curses at a Swiss couple.
Speaking in his native language, he chanted in a prayer-like tone and called the couple "swine" and said their children would have spots on their skin and be considered illegitimate.
President Mohammed Nasheed apologized to the couple, who haven't been named.
Police arrested the celebrant and an assistant and said both were still in custody Thursday and have not yet been charged.
The Maldives is an Indian Ocean archipelago of 350,000 people chosen by many tourists for weddings and honeymoons.