updated 20 Jul 2013, 18:16
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Tue, Jan 22, 2013
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Wives of gay men can be 'single' again

The 35-year-old woman who was married to a gay man for seven years ended their marriage a month ago.

"I've lost faith in love and marriage," "Zheyi" said. She added that it was difficult for a woman her age to find a husband because people in smaller cities in China tend to bemore conservative.

Now there is hope for such women. A court in Beijing is calling for legislation so that women who are married to gay men can file for annulment of their marriages, instead of a divorce.

If the legislation comes into effect, the legal status of such women would be restored to "single" instead of "divorced", the report said.

The existing marriage laws in China do not have an "exit clause" and many women do not want to go through a divorce for fear of being stigmatised, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

China has at least 10 million women who are married to gay men, according to leading sexologist Zhang Beichuan.

He also said that about 90 per cent of the gay men are already married or will marry straight women.

These gay men choose to marry and have children mainly due to pressure from parents and social traditions.

Many Chinese believe continuing a family's bloodline is a man's obligation.

The proposal will be helpful to wives married to gays who do not wish to be labelled as divorcees, said "Tabitha", a volunteer with the Tongqi Association, an online support group for wives of gay men.

"A divorced man in his 40s can still find a 20-something woman to marry," the 24-year-old woman volunteer said. "But when it comes to a divorced woman of the same age, that is absolutely not the case."

But Professor Chen Wei at the South-west University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing, said that the court's suggestion deprives homosexuals of a right to marry, adding that their desire to have families and children should be protected by law.

But Mr Liang Wenyong, a researcher at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, disagreed: "In my opinion, homosexuals are obliged to tell their would-be spouses about their sexual orientation, or the marriage will inevitably inflict pain on the heterosexual partner."

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