As we’re seeing more and more, one of the big problems with our country’s inconsistent national policy on same-sex unions is what happens when couples split up. Thomas Beatie, who made headlines in recent years for giving birth to three children despite having transitioned to male, has been told by an Arizona judge that his nine-year marriage is not valid in the state’s eyes, so he and his wife are not eligible for a divorce.
On Friday, Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled that because Beatie didn’t provide enough evidence of what procedures he’s had done, the state sees his relationship as a same-sex marriage, which are not legally recognized in Arizona.
“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 [Mr. Beatie] was a transsexual male when they were issued their marriage license.”
Beatie, who is appealing the ruling, has been public about having had a double mastectomy and taking hormones (which he suspended in order to get pregnant). When Thomas and Nancy were legally married in 2003 in Hawaii, he wasn’t asked to disclose the nature of his reproductive organs. (According to news reports, Beatie had phalloplasty surgery last year and is no longer able to get pregnant.)
While the couple’s marital status is in limbo, the judge did set custody guidelines for the Beaties’ three children: Thomas is required to pay $240 in monthly child support.