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.