The pregnant man is now going to be a divorced man. Arizona’s “pregnant man,” Thomas Beatie, a transgender man who made international headlines by giving birth to three children, was granted rights by an Arizona court to divorce his wife of ten years.
Reuters news service, via MSN News, wrote on Aug. 13: “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. The court's decision overturns a ruling made in March 2013 by a Maricopa County Family Court judge that blocked the divorce.”
Beatie underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2002 and thereafter became colloquially known as “The Pregnant Man.” His artificial insemination in 2007 and resulting pregnancy was applauded by some, condemned by others. His appearances on Oprah and ABC’s 20/20 in 2008, along with a topless photo shoot of a pregnant Beatie in a 2008 issue of People gained widespread attention.
Beatie’s wife Nancy was infertile; his first insemination resulted in ectopic pregnancy with the loss of triplet fetuses. Beatie has since given birth to three more children.
The pair, who filed for divorce initially in 2012, created a challenge for courts. Explains the Reuters report:
Judge Douglas Gerlach 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.
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.
In its appeal ruling, the panel said it was “obligated to let people who get their birth certificates changed to reflect a new gender status the rights connected to their amended status – and doing otherwise would run afoul of equal-protection rights protection,” writes the Daily Mail.
“It's a precedent-setting case that will protect a lot of families,” commented Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Beatie’s attorney, David Michael Cantor, said the state of Arizona has “officially recognized him as a man and that his marriage was valid, and because his marriage was valid, his kids were born in wedlock, which is important to him.”