August 20th, 2014
Last week, courts in both Arizona and California ruled that marriages of two transgender men were valid and that they can, in fact, get divorced.
Thomas Beatie, 40, was born female and in 1997 he underwent assessment to determine his psychological gender. In 2002 he began a series of gender-reassignment surgeries and in 2005 legally changed his gender to male on his birth certificate.
When determined his wife was infertile, Beatie became pregnant through artificial insemination. Beatie appeared on numerous talk shows as “The Pregnant Man” and gave birth to his first child in 2008.
By 2011, the couple had two more children.
On August 13th, an Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the marriage between Thomas Beatie and Nancy J. Beatie was lawful and that their union may be dissolved by divorce.
The couple was married in Hawaii and was originally refused the power to divorce by a lower Arizona Court, recognizing the couple as same-sex and therefore an invalid marriage.
“The question before this Court is not whether the State of Arizona allows same-sex marriage or divorce, but whether the laws of the State of Arizona allow a marriage, lawfully entered into in another state, between two persons the foreign state formally recognized at the time of the marriage as male and female, to be dissolved,” the appellate decision said, as quoted in AZ Central News.
Arizona’s ruling followed a similar decision by the Superior Court of California. The previous week, the marriage of adult firm star Jake Miller, known as Buck Angel, and his wife Elayne, was ruled as valid. Miller was born female and modified his birth certificate years after the couple’s Louisiana marriage.
According to an article on Transgender Law Center, Elayne Angel argued that the union was invalid due to Miller’s female birth certificate status at the time of marriage. The Superior court ruled that Miller was legally male and that Louisiana law will identify the union as one between male and female.
Both couples are allowed to continue with their respective divorce proceedings.
According to USA Today, Beatie said in a statement released by his attorney, “I feel I have finally been recognized in Arizona as not just a man, but a human being.”
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