Brunei's new law punishing gay sex and adultery with death by stoning is drawing condemnation even from one of America's leading homophobes, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Cruz, who opposes marriage equality, supports restrictions on transgender people's public restroom use, and has endorsed the right of business owners to turn away LGBTQ people, tweeted Thursday that the Brunei law is "barbaric."
\u201cThis is wrong. It is barbaric. America should condemn this immoral and inhumane law, and everyone should be united against it.\u201d
He followed Friday with a tweet joining actor and LGBTQ ally George Clooney in calling for a boycott of the luxury hotels owned by the Dorchester Collection, a company controlled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei.
\u201cHere are words I\u2019ve never said before: I agree with George Clooney. Brunei\u2019s laws criminalizing homosexuality \u2014 and imposing capital punishment \u2014 are immoral, barbaric & inhumane. We should stand united in condemning them & not give our $$ to those who perpetuate oppression.\u201d
The sultan of the small, oil-rich Southeast Asian nation began imposing aspects of Islamic religious law into the country's legal system in 2014. New provisions of the legal code going into effect this Wednesday will include many inhumane penalties. People who have sex with a person of the same gender and women who have sex outside of marriage can be stoned to death -- and a thief will be punished by having a hand or foot amputated.
Such penalties are often called part of "Sharia law," which some scholars of Islam say is a misnomer. Sharia is a set of religious guidelines, not a legal system. It does lay out harsh punishments for certain crimes, but they are a small part of Sharia, scholars say -- and progressive Muslim activists say those aspects of Sharia are subject to human interpretation, and punishments like these have no place in modern society.
In a commentary on Deadline, Clooney wrote of Brunei's new laws, "In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone."
Elton John has also joined in the call for a boycott.
\u201cHere are the hotels to boycott:\n\nThe Dorchester, London\n45 Park Lane, London\nCoworth Park, UK\nThe Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills\nHotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles\nLe Meurice, Paris\nHotel Plaza Athenee, Paris\nHotel Eden, Rome\nHotel Principe di Savoia, Mi\n\nElton xx\u201d