BEVERLY HILLS—The City Council officially condemned the government ofBrunei through a unanimously passed resolution on May 6.
The East Asian country recently adopted an Islamic criminal law, which aims to punish offenses like homosexuality and adultery with flogging, amputation and death by stoning. Much of the world has been quick to condemn the country for its discriminatory practices, and the City Council decided to do its part.
“I brought this resolution forward because of my own and the Beverly Hillscommunity’s fierce reaction to the horrific laws and punishments in Brunei, said Mayor Lili Bosse in a statement. “These laws are shocking, inhumane and must be met with a strong statement of support for human rights of the people ofBrunei.”
The council chambers were packed on May 6 with residents who took the opportunity to speak their piece on Brunei’s actions before the resolution was passed.
“I do think we sincerely need to lobby the United States government for sanctions [against Brunei],” said Councilman John Mirisch at the council meeting. “This is a matter of human rights.”
The entertainment community has not only blasted Brunei for its newly adopted laws, but it has also protested the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air due to the fact that both are owned by the government of Brunei through the Brunei Investment Agency, according to the New York Daily News.
Several other celebrities have protested the hotel as well, including Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Fry and Francis Fisher. Richard Branson wrote on Twitter that no Virgin employee would be staying at the hotel as long as Brunei’s policies were in effect.
On May 6, the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign called on the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air to cease promoting “specialized services to LGBT couples seeking to have wedding ceremonies in the Los Angeles Area,” according to a statement. The group had condemned the government of Bruneion May 2, and it was in attendance of a large protest on May 6 outside the Beverly Hills Hotel.
“The Sultan is offering free strawberries to LGBT couples in L.A. and death by stoning to those in Brunei,” said Chad Griffin, the group’s President. “This is the height of hypocrisy, and we must ensure that profits from LGBT weddings in the U.S. Stop going to a regime that could soon start executing its LGBT citizens.”
The City Council’s resolution also called for the hotel’s owner to divest itself of its ownership of the property, but Mayor Bosse was quick to remind everyone that there was a difference between the owners of the hotel and its staff.
“It is extremely important that we separate out the hotel from the ownership,” she said in the statement. “For more than a century, the City has had a strong and positive partnership with the Beverly Hills Hotel. I am not calling for a city-sanctioned boycott.”
The resolution, which requests that the federal government do its part to condemn Brunei, will now head to the U.S. State Department.