Under current law in the Kingdom of Brunei, the maximum punishment for homosexual sex is 10 years in prison.
Which is awful.
Expect that the nation is getting ready to enact a penal code reform that calls for the stoning to death of homosexuals (along with those who rob, commit sodomy, insult the Koran or declare oneself to be a prophet).
For reasons too obvious to state, this has agencies like the United Nations a bit worked up. They’ve urged the nation to reconsider, saying the punishment “contravenes international law.”
But the Sultan of Brunei (who also happens to be Brunei’s Prime Minister, go figure) is facing more backlash in the least likely of places – from the iconic pink walls of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Sultan, or Hassanal Bolkiah, is estimated to be worth somewhere around $20 billion, and his investment group has its fingers in many a honey pot.
So even as the leader of a socially oppressive Southeast Asian nation, he owns properties like the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Principe di Savoia in Milan, Le Meurice in Paris and the Dorchester in London – all luxury hotels that must see as much gay sex go down than Labor Day on Fire Island.
LGBT advocacy group The Gill Action Fund was all set to hold its ‘Winning the Heartland’ conference for political donors at the Beverly Hills Hotel from May 1-4, but now they’re very publicly looking for a new host.
“In light of the horrific anti-gay policy approved by the Government of Brunei, Gill Action made the decision earlier today to relocate its conference from the Beverly Hills Hotel to another property,” Gill Action Executive Director Kirk Fordham told washingtonblade.com. “We are seeking a return of all deposits.”
And members of the fashion industry like shoe designer Brian Atwood and designer Peter Som are calling for a similar boycott of the properties, which are favorites among industry professionals and press during events like fashion week.
“Send a clear signal to their owner, the Sultan of Brunei, that stoning people to death for being gay in Brunei is not acceptable,” wrote Atwood. Since the law comes into effect Tuesday, he added: “Why not cancel your bookings tomorrow?”
While it’s unclear to what degree that signal will be received by the Sultan, it’s important that anyone planning to pay the (very) high price tag at these hotels know where their money is going.