Beatie Divorce Update

 

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Sometimes divorce happens. (Or does it?) After 14 years of being in a relationship (9 years of marriage) Thomas and Nancy Beatie filed for divorce in Phoenix, Arizona of March, 2012. For three months, the case moved through the system like any other divorce... granted there are complications like a bitter child custody dispute and an order of protection being served against Nancy due to her alcohol addiction and domestic violence, but a final divorce hearing was set for September 18, 2012. Unexpectedly, on June 26, 2012, Judge Douglas Gerlach, the Maricopa County Superior Court judge overseeing the matter, vacated the final trial date and put the divorce on hold. The judge backpedaled from what seemed to be the course for a normal divorce case to issuing a Nunc Pro Tunc Order challenging the jurisdiction and validity of the Beaties' marriage and Thomas' male identity. Due to the fact that Thomas chose to use his reproductive organs and give birth to his children, the judge potentially sees their marriage as a same-sex union. Read here for details of the Press Release.


In a 20-page memorandum submitted on July 30, 2012 to the court by Thomas' attorney, Michael Clancy of the Cantor Law Group, it cites how Thomas underwent irreversible sex change procedures before being granted an amended birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, and social security index. Thomas and Nancy also received a traditional marriage license in Hawaii, like Arizona, a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. Sterilization, however, is not a requirement for either State's Statue for legal sex change. The document also states that Thomas was legally a man when he birthed his three children and was listed as "Father" on each of his children's birth certificates, furthermore, that he qualified and currently meets every statutory and administrative requirement to be legally a man and legally married in Arizona.


"One hand of the government is not acknowledging the other hand and fails to provide equal rights and protection for transgender citizens. In the future, people like me and situations like mine will continue to fall through the cracks," says Thomas Beatie.


Ironically, Thomas is currently battling to “save” his marriage in order to be granted the right to get a divorce and his case may have lasting implications on the future of family law in Arizona and abroad. Why? Because the science, which gave rise to legislative action in recognizing one’s ability to change gender, is not being applied in this family court case. Thomas' case also raises the novel question of what constitutes gender and whether legal men can give birth to children.


Thomas argues, "A challenge like this, especially in a conservative state like Arizona, is how laws are changed and progress is made. This is history in the making which could affect the lives of millions of transgender people, not to mention the average person who cares about equality.”


The Beatie case is a first of its kind, where a documented legal male gives birth within a traditional marriage to a woman. The outcome of Beatie v. Beatie will either set a positive or negative precedent for the ability of transgender people to get married, stay married, or be granted a divorce. This is also a test case for the reproductive rights of transgender people within marriage and for a transgender person's ability to legally maintain his/her legal gender identity. The legal decision coming from Beatie v. Beatie will be a springboard and reference for similar cases in addition to hopefully weakening the absurdity of state-to-state restrictions on marriage recognition. If Judge Gerlach denies the Beaties a divorce, Thomas' legal team will appeal the decision and take the case to the Supreme Court.


“Hopefully after hearing the evidence, Judge Gerlach will expand his understanding of the complexities of biology and sociology and allow the laws to catch up to the times," Thomas explains.


Visibility for this very important milestone in marriage law is crucial because without it, a single judge will succeed in stealthily invalidating the marriages of transgender people and their hard-fought-for identities, setting a discriminatory legal framework for the nation. In the weeks prior to the Beaties’ upcoming December 7, 2012 trial, Thomas Beatie will be appearing on several mainstream national media outlets including the finale of Oprah's new show, "Where Are They Now?" Tuesday, November 27 at 10PM ET/PT on OWN and Anderson Cooper’s Anderson Live, Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 3PM PT on CBS.

Arizona is Attempting to Invalidate the Beaties’ Marriage and Thomas’ Legal Male Gender Identity

October 16, 2012

Media will have access to this trial.

EVENT:          Oral Argument re: Subject Matter Jurisdiction in Beatie v. Beatie
CASE #:         FC 2012-051183
DATE:            Friday, December 7, 2012
TIME:             9:00 A.M.
LOCATION:   Maricopa County Superior Court
                      Northeast Regional Court Center
                      18380 N. 40th Street, Courtroom 104
                      Phoenix, Arizona 85032

Thomas and his attorneys are seeking the support of national civil rights organizations, LGBT networks, as well as any professionals who can give expert medical and legal testimony in favor of transgender equal rights and identity.


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