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Transgender man refused divorce because marriage was never valid

A transgender man has had his divorce application refused because his marriage was never valid, according to an Arizona judge.

Judge Douglas Gerlach concluded that there was insufficient evidence that Thomas Beatie was legally a man when he got married in 2003. Therefore, under the same sex marriage ban in Arizona the nine year union was never legal, the judge ruled.

Beatie had a double mastectomy in 2002 but became pregnant in 2007 when it was discovered his wife Nancy could not have children. He has since given birth to three children.

The couple’s divorce proceedings were slowed last summer when Gerlach said he could not legally define a man as someone who can give birth. Arizona family courts have been considering the legitimacy of the marriage for some time.

Gerlach explained his reasons for refusing the divorce:

“The decision here is not based on the conclusion that this case involves a same-sex marriage merely because one of the parties is a transsexual male, but instead, the decision is compelled by the fact that the parties failed to prove that (Thomas Beatie) was a transsexual male when they were issued their marriage license”.

Beatie gained worldwide media attention when he became pregnant and has appeared on talk shows such as Larry King Live and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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