Due to the expected implementation of a Brunei law that would make homosexuality punishable by stoning, a major LGBT advocacy organization is relocating a scheduled conference for donors from a historic hotel owned by the sultan of the Southeast Asian country.
Gill Action’s Political Outgiving 5.0 conference was scheduled to be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel May 1 through May 5. However, according to Kirk Fordham, executive director of Gill Action, those plans have been scrapped in light of developments in Brunei.
“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,” Fordham said in an email to Metro Weekly. “We are seeking a return of all deposits.”
The Beverly Hills Hotel was bought by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, in 1987 and is managed by the Dorchester Collection, organized by the Brunei Investment Agency. While homosexuality previously carried a penalty of 10 years in prison in Brunei, the new law slated to take effect April 22 — which is part of Bolkiah’s broader phasing in of Sharia law in the Southeast Asian country — would allow those convicted of same-sex relations to be stoned to death. Those guilty of other sexual offenses, such as rape and adultery, could also face stoning.
Bolkiah is one of the richest men in the world, worth around $20 billion due to his country’s oil reserves, according to Forbes.He has ruled Brunei since 1967.
The invitation-only conference targets major LGBT-rights donors. May’s conference is focused on “building the road to equality in the heartland.” Founded by Tim Gill in 2005, the Denver-based Gill Action is separate from the computer software entrepreneur’s charitable foundation, the Gill Foundation.
[Photo: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Bruneian Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on March 11, 2013. Credit: State Department photo.]