A man in China has paid 800,000 yuan (US$130,000) in a divorce settlement because he didn’t tell his wife that he was gay.
The couple agreed following mediation by a court in the eastern province of Zhejiang, according to local news reports.
The 27-year-old woman, surnamed Wang, from Ningbo, thought she had found the man of her dreams when she met her 32-year-old future husband, surnamed Zhou. She found him very humorous and charming, and to her amazement, he proposed to her on the evening they first met.
They dated for about four months before Wang accepted Zhou’s proposal at a party, and they married in March.
On their wedding night, Zhou slept in a separate room, saying he had a bad cold, the court heard. And a week later, he had still refused to move back into their bedroom.
When Wang demanded an explanation, Zhou took out a credit card and said, “I know I owe you much and I will try to compensate you in other ways.” He said that his wife could buy whatever she wanted with the card, said the newspaper.
In the months that followed, Wang became suspicious as her husband always left home quickly after receiving calls from a man.
One night she followed him to a bar and found him with another man with whom he seemed intimate, reported the newspaper. When Wang confronted her husband, he admitted that he was gay and that he married due to pressure from his parents.
He suggested that they stay married to keep the fact that he was gay a secret from his parents and friends, but Wang filed a lawsuit late last month, demanding a divorce and compensation.
Zhou agreed to pay her 800,000 yuan and signed the divorce papers after court mediation.
Many gay men in China marry and have children because of pressure from their parents and to avoid social stigma.
Most Chinese believe continuing a bloodline is an obligation for men.
An estimated 80 to 90 percent of gay men in China marry, according to retired Qingdao University Professor Zhang Beichuan. He said that there are nearly 10 million Chinese couples in such marriages.
The issue was in the spotlight last March after a court in Chengdu, capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan Province, heard how a woman committed suicide after her husband announced that he was gay on a social networking website.
Luo Li, a 31-year-old teacher with a PhD, leapt from her 13th-floor apartment in June 2012, after her husband, Cheng Wei, came out online.
Her parents demanded 630,000 yuan (US$101,304) in compensation but a district court ruled that Luo was responsible for her actions.