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University Revokes Degree for Brunei Sultan Following Gay Stoning Law

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The University of Aberdeen in Scotland took back an honorary degree given to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

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Following Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei's decision to allow death by stoning for those convicted of gay sex, a Scottish university has revoked an honorary degree given to him in 1995.

"There has been an international controversy since the Sultan of Brunei, in his role as Head of State, introduced severely punitive anti-LGBT laws," University of Aberdeen Principal George Boyne said, according to the BBC. "The honorary degree has been revoked following a vote by Senate, our academic body, which approved a recommendation from our Honorary Degrees Committee. While it is deeply regrettable to be in this position, which is unprecedented for the University of Aberdeen, I fully support the decision."

Boyne added that the sultan's interpretation of Islamic law conflicts with the university's values of diversity and respect. The University of Aberdeen had participated in an exchange program with Brunei; it's not clear if that will continue.

Other than boycotts of the sultan's hotels in cities like London and Los Angeles, there has been little political fallout from Brunei's harsh new penal code. President Trump, whose administration had expressed interest in decriminalizing gay conduct globally, has not spoken publicly about the sultan's decision to condemn gay people to death.

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.