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Ariz. judge rejects divorce for transgender man

PHOENIX — An Arizona judge on Friday refused to grant a divorce for a transgender Arizona man who gave birth to three children after beginning to change his sex from female.

Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled that Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriages prevents Thomas Beatie’s nine-year union from being recognized as valid.

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Thomas Beatie was born a woman and later underwent a double-mastectomy, and began testosterone hormone therapy and psychological treatment to become a man, but he retained female reproductive organs and gave birth to three children.

Gerlach said he had no jurisdiction to approve a divorce because there’s insufficient evidence that Beatie was a man when he married Nancy Beatie in Hawaii. He said the Beaties never provided records to fully explain what Thomas Beatie actually had done and not done to become a man.

‘‘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,’’ he wrote in Friday’s ruling.

A spokesman for Beatie, Ryan Gordon, said the judge’s comments came as a shock and that Beatie plans to appeal.

He said Beatie legally was married as a man and never was required to disclose that he retained female reproductive organs when applying for and being granted a new birth certificate in Hawaii as a man. He said Beatie halted testosterone treatments so that he could give birth to his children.

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