A Spanish regional court has overturned a lower court's ruling ordering a bisexual man to pay his wife 1,000 euros for each year they were married for “hiding his homosexuality” from her.
Javier Vilalta, a human rights lawyer, had been divorced for nearly a decade when his ex-wife sued for compensation and to annul their marriage on the grounds that he had concealed his sexuality from her.
Vilalta's ex-wife claimed in her lawsuit that he used her “as a social refuge” to hide his homosexuality during the three years they were married, and maintained that she never would have married him if she had known about his true sexuality, reports the UK-based newspaper The Times.
The woman, whose name has not been published in the press to protect her identity, reportedly chose to pursue legal action after a mutual friend told her during a dinner in 2019 that they knew Vilalta had “always been homosexual” and had gay relationships. The couple amicably parted in 2009.
Last year, a lower court in Valencia, Spain, sided with Vilalta's ex-wife, ordering him to pay her 1,000 euros (or about $1,187 U.S. dollars) for each year they were married. Vilalta appealed the ruling to the Provincial Court of Valencia, finding that the lower court ruling was discriminatory and infringed on Vilalta's privacy. The court also found that a person should not have to declare their sexual orientation in court.
Vilalta told The Times that he experimented sexually during his adolescence, and he had relationships with women before getting married. At the time he married his ex-wife, he didn't identify as gay and had only had a “brief homosexual experience.”
Vilalta said he became involved in a relationship with another man five years after divorcing his ex-wife, and had even introduced his partner to her. But their relationship changed after she was triggered by another friend's assertion that he had always been gay and decided to sue him for misleading her about his sexual orientation.
Vilalta said he appealed the lower court's ruling in an effort to change Spain's “backward, conservative” laws, and to challenge the idea that homosexuality can be penalized, which could discourage other LGBTQ people from coming out publicly in the future.
Acknowledging the issue of bisexual erasure raised by the ex-wife's lawsuit, Vilalta's lawyer previously argued that even if his client had been with a relationship with a man in the past, there is no reason a bisexual person cannot have a happy marriage with a partner of the opposite sex.
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