The Sultan of Brunei announced that his country will not enforce its recently passed law punishing punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with death by stoning.
Questions remain about whether the law will remain on the books and whether the country will still punish adultery and rape with death by stoning.
One gay man in Brunei recently told The Guardian that it was unlikely that any gay people would actually be stoned to death under the homophobic law because it has a “high burden of proof, requiring a confession, or at least four credible witnesses to a criminalized act, [meaning] it won’t be easy to prosecute.”
However, queer locals worried the law would encourage homophobic conservatives to start hunting LGBTQ people in public. Reports of gay life in Brunei say that gay people “lay low,” living in the closet, barely patronizing Brunei’s clandestine gay bars and refusing to discuss gay life in general.
Celebrities like George Clooney, Elton John, Jaime Lee Curtis, Rufus Wainright, Ellen DeGeneres and Dua Lipa all called for boycotts of the Sultan’s hotel properties following the passage of the antigay law. Gay blogger Perez Hilton outed the Sultan’s allegedly gay son, and gay actor and activist Omar Sharif Jr. volunteered to be executed under the law if the Sultan would execute his gay son first – and do it himself.