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.