A transgender man who has given birth to three children can divorce his wife of ten years according to a court in Arizona. The ruling is a reversal of an earlier ruling that blocked the divorce.
A three-member panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously decided that the divorce can proceed because Thomas Beatie's 2003 marriage in Hawaii was considered legal in Arizona.
"As the Beaties' Hawaii marriage was lawfully entered in Hawaii and is not deemed void by Arizona law, the marriage is valid within this state," said Judge Kenton D. Jones, in the 12-page opinion.
The lower court had denied the divorce "on the grounds that Beatie had not shown he was a man when he wed in 2003, and thus could not show he and his wife were a heterosexual couple. Same-sex marriages are not recognized as valid in Arizona."
The controversy exists because,
Beatie, 40, was born a woman, but has lived as a man since his 20s after hormone treatments and surgery to change his gender. Beatie was legally allowed to change his birth certificate and other documents to reflect his being a male.
He first gained notoriety after stopping the testosterone treatments and deciding to have a baby when his wife was unable to conceive because she had a hysterectomy.
He made the rounds of national talk shows as the man with the thin beard and baby belly when he first became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in 2008. Two other children followed in the next two years.
Beatie filed for divorce in 2012, seeking dissolution of his marriage with plans to marry his new girlfriend.
Beatie's attorney told Reuters "People are going to have to get used to the fact that transgender people exist and they deserve the same rights and responsibilities that everyone else have [sic]."