Arizona is a state that does not allow same-sex marriage. What happens when a man who was born as a woman, but had a sex change, though he still has female reproductive organs, marries, moves to Arizona, and then decides he wants to divorce his wife? What happens is a judge questions whether the man’s marriage was legally valid in the first place.
Thomas Beatie is the man in question. He is a transgender man who is now divorcing his wife Nancy. Beatie was born as a woman in Hawaii, had a sex change in 1998, but retained his female sex organs. He and his wife, Nancy, were married as man and wife in 2003. Both Beatie’s birth certificate and passport were changed to identify him as a man.
Beatie and his wife wanted children, but since Nancy was infertile, Beatie was the one who bore their three children. Beatie made headlines when photos of him with a beard and pregnant belly were made public.
Although Hawaii recognizes Beatie as a man, Arizona does not because he still has female reproductive organs. Beatie’s attorney, David Michael Cantor stated that Hawaii said it was okay, the marriage was valid, but “who is Arizona to say, well, we’re going to ignore one of the other 49 states and say this is not a valid marriage?” This is new territory for Arizona and Cantor is fighting to have the marriage recognized. If the marriage is not recognized, Beatie will not have to pay spousal maintenance, but this is something Beatie does not want. He wants not only his marriage validated in Arizona, but wants to be recognized as a male, as well.
According to TMZ, the judge in the case argues that since Arizona doesn’t recognize gay marriage, he does not have the authority to divorce a couple that, in his opinion, were never married in the first place. Whatever decision the judge makes will set precedent in Arizona over transgender marriages.