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Did you know that soon being gay in Brunei could get you stoned to death? That’s the new penalty imposed by the country’s richest man - and leader - the Sultan of Brunei.

But now we have a chance to hit him back where it hurts - in his wallet. The Australian Football League (AFL) is about to decide whether or not to drop Brunei’s airline as one of their sponsors.

People inside the AFL are pushing for its leaders to take a stand and tell the Sultan that killing people because of who they are is not only wrong - it’s very bad for business.

Thousands of Aussies joining together to tell the Australian Football League to drop Brunei Airlines is our best chance to win. And it’ll send a strong message to Brunei’s leader that laws terrorizing gays and lesbians will cost him his reputation -- and millions of dollars.[/size]

The AFL is making its decision any moment - let’s get their attention! Will you take one minute to sign the petition and share it with your friends and family?

Sign Here: https://www.allout.org/Brunei-AFL

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The Sultan is not only his nation's richest man, but is considered by many estimates as the world's richest man, possessing all his nation's considerable oil resources.

When his son was learning to fly multi-engine several years ago he used to practice touch-and-go landings in a Brunei Airlines airliner at my local, Kota Kinabalu (Borneo), airport.

I met the son once later in Kuala Lumpur and he set off my gaydar. Go figure.


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Sorry, but I've been away....

Technically, the sponsorship deal was between AFL Europe (the European affiliate of the AFL) and the Brunei airline. The AFL commission has already expressed grave concerns about this (in the middle of last week when the news came to light) and the expectation is that they'll tell the affiliate to drop the sponsorship.

AFL reviews Brunei Sponsorship Deal over Anti-Gay Laws (from 10th September)

The AFL (along with other major professional sporting codes in Australia) signed a commitment in April to stamp out homophobia in their sport in time for the Bingham Cup at the end of August. The Bingham cup is the World Cup of Gay Rugby and was held in Sydney this year in the last week of August (from memory). It makes absolutely no sense for them to make that commitment and then to allow this sponsorship. I fully expect that AFL Europe will drop Brunei Airlines as their official airline as a consequence. The online petition is nice, but probably unnecessary.

Since my latest novel is set in the world of Australian Rules football, I've been paying a lot of attention to the sport and its attitudes towards homophobia. As an example, beside the Pink Magpies (the GLBT supporter group for the Collingwood Football Club), this year has also seen the formation of the Purple Bombers (a similar group for the Essendon Football Club). Other events have occurred that tell me that the AFL is sincere about wanting to act against homophobia, such as their support for the inaugural Pride Cup in May between a couple of district teams in the Yarra Valley and Mountain district. The AFL Players Association also had a significant contribution to the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in 2013 -- on YouTube and on their website, and through the clubs (eg. the St.Kilda Football Club)

There is a lot of support for gay rights and anti-homophobia at the top level of Australian Rules football. That's why I'm sure this sponsorship was a mistake that was not condoned or approved by the AFL in Australia.

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