It’s an increasingly common problem: same-sex couples stuck in marital limbo, also known as “wed-locked.” Hitched in the gay-marriage-friendly corners of the country, their home states won’t recognize their unions long enough to grant them divorces. Now it’s happening to one of the country’s most prominent transgender people.
Thomas Beatie became famous in 2008 for his eye-catching status as the world’s first pregnant man. Born a woman, he had a state-authorized sex change in Hawaii before marrying his wife, Nancy, and, because she was infertile, bearing their three children. Now the couple, who have since relocated to Arizona, have to beg for a divorce.
Reporting on court documents, TMZ wrote that Beatie had alleged that his wife was frequently drunk and abusive, and a judge issued a restraining order against her. But local news outlet WPTV reports that a Phoenix judge “wants more information to determine if Beatie’s marriage is valid” before granting the unhappy pair a divorce, since Beatie still had female plumbing at the time of the wedding.
“Hawaii said OK, that it’s a valid marriage, who is Arizona to say, well, we’re going to ignore one of the other 49 states and say this not a valid marriage?” Beatie’s attorney, David Michael Cantor, said. (Indeed, a constitutional amendment for marriage equality would make things simpler.)
Beatie spoke widely about his pregnancies — for a while there, he was hard to avoid — and there’s an activist element to his split, too. WPTV points out that it would be much quicker and cheaper for Beatie to accept a ruling that the marriage had been illegitimate all along, sparing him spousal maintenance payments.
“We’re fighting Thomas’ validation, it’s a valid marriage, he’s a male, he’s a valid person and that’s what this fight is all about,” his lawyer told WPTV.