Chinese Court: Gay man who married a woman that died by suicide not to blame for her death

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A lawsuit was rejected today by a local court in China, brought by the parents of a woman who committed suicide after finding out her husband was gay.

The court, in Chengdu, in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, rejected the lawsuit brought by the parents of 31-year-old Luo Hongling, who jumped to her death from a building in June 2011, The Global Times reports.

The parents of the teacher of the Chongqing-based Sichuan Foreign Studies University said her husband Mr Cheng, failed to fulfil his legal obligations as a spouse, and asked for 630,000 yuan (£63,000) in compensation.

The parents said they thought their daughter’s death was caused by Cheng, as they said he hid the fact he that he was gay prior to the couple getting married.

They were only married six months, and they had not filed for a divorce prior to Ms Hongling’s death.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Mr Cheng said the fact that he was gay did not result in Ms Hongling’s death, and that the marriage between the couple did conform to related laws.

Mr Cheng had already compensated his former in-laws 32,000 yuan (£3,200).

The fraud claim  by Ms Hongling’s parents was rejected, because, the court said, the knowledge of Mr Cheng’s sexual orientation did not affect the legitimacy of their marriage registration, which was voluntary.

Gay people entering into marriage with members of the opposite sex is not prohibited by law, however equal marriage for same sex couples is not currently legal in China.

The court ruled that Ms Hongling had other potential ways to deal with the situation.

A renowned sexologist, and former expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Li Yinhe, said that the ruling is a message to gay people entering into marriages with members of the opposite sex. Li said:

“Legislation to some degree might help prevent these kinds of marriages,” she also went on to suggest that 16 million Chinese people unwittingly entered into marriages with gay people.

The parents of the deceased said they would appeal against the ruling to the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court.

A volunteer from the Beijing-based gay and lesbian rights NGO, Aibai Culture and Education Centre, said that Mr Cheng was probably forced into the marriage by social pressures to conform and have children.