July 8, 2015

Transgender man plans to keep seeking divorce

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 3, 2013

PHOENIX (AP) — A transgender Arizona man whose divorce request was rejected after his marriage was declared invalid plans to keep trying to get his 9-year union dissolved, saying Tuesday that he wants the three children to whom he gave birth to know their parents’ marriage was legitimate.
Thomas Beatie, wearing a dress shirt and tie, said a judge’s decision last week to reject his divorce request was a swipe against his identity and could cause problems for him down the road if he decides to remarry.
He also said the ruling underscores his belief that Arizona is unaccepting of transgender people, pointing out a proposal in the Legislature that seeks to shield businesses from liability if they ban people from restrooms that don’t match their birth sex.
“This obviously is not Beatie versus Beatie,” Thomas Beatie said as he spoke to reporters at his attorney’s office. “This is the state of Arizona versus transgender people, human reproductive rights and fairness under law.”
Beatie, who plans to appeal the ruling in his divorce case, was born a woman and later underwent a double-mastectomy and began testosterone hormone therapy to become a man, but retained female reproductive organs and gave birth to three children. He married his partner Nancy in early 2003 in Honolulu and became pregnant because Nancy was unable to have children. Thomas Beatie conceived with donated sperm. The couple eventually moved to Arizona.
“Imagine what this is doing to my children,” Beatie said as he held the hand of his girlfriend of one year. “In time, they are going to look back and see that a court said that’s not your daddy. I’m sorry, that’s who I am. I am my children’s father.”
Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled on Thursday that Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriages prevents Beatie’s marriage from being recognized as valid.


Gerlach said he had no jurisdiction to approve a divorce because there’s insufficient evidence that Beatie was a man when he got married. The judge said the Beaties never provided records to fully explain what Thomas Beatie actually had done and not done to become a man. The ruling also noted that Thomas Beatie had halted the testosterone treatments.
Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which isn’t involved in the Beatie case, said the decision doesn’t set a precedent and instead applies only to the Thomas and Nancy Beatie. Still, Minter said the decision is legally flawed and demoralizing to transgender people.
The ruling saves Thomas Beatie from paying alimony to Nancy, but Thomas said he was willing to take on that financial obligation because he wanted a court to recognize his marriage.
He said moving back to Hawaii to start divorce proceedings there was impractical. It would likely separate him from his children, lead to heavier living expenses and require him to find new employment.
Michael Cantor, one of Thomas Beatie’s attorneys, said Beatie could remarry in Arizona, but he could create conflicts in Hawaii, where Beatie’s first marriage was viewed as valid and where he could later be accused of polygamy.
David Higgins, Nancy’s attorney, said his client will likely join Thomas Beatie in his planned appeal of Gerlach’s decision. “She recognizes Thomas as a male and recognizes that her marriage is valid,” Higgins said.

Comments

comments

Local

People with concerns about Confederate monument say it’s time to talk

News

Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson will not seek re-election

Crime

Salisbury man charged with car break-in, buying hundreds at Walmart with stolen credit card

Local

Two men killed after being struck by trains in separate accidents

Local

After years, Commissioners vote to join Thread Trail by slim margin

News

Municipal Election races begin to take shape

News

Commissioners hire firm for speculative buildings

David Freeze

David Freeze: A Civil War day and more

Granite Quarry

DOT says contractor’s street work in Granite Quarry ‘not up to par’

Education

Kannapolis school board names replacement for Millie Hall

Food

100 wedding cupcakes: A big order for a reporter

East Spencer

East Spencer to hold community meeting for bike, pedestrian plan

Crime

Blotter: Mother, daughter charged after traffic checkpoint stop

Local

Spencer Police ID man struck, killed by train

Local

Salisbury man killed late Sunday after being struck by train

Check this out

July blood drives start Tuesday

East Spencer

Man dies after being struck by train

News

Filing for municipal races opens today

Business

Council to review request for downtown development grants

Environment

Drought in Rowan projected to harshly decrease crop yields

Lifestyle

Wayne Hinshaw: Eco Tour to Capers Island

Local

Yesterday: the Blackmer family in 1957

Local

Town Crier community events July 6-12

David Freeze

David Freeze: A few wrong turns and lots of right ones