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Diatribe: A Pregnant Man Can’t Get A Divorce In Arizona.

08/17/2012

As a child my family vacations and adventures were always found on the highways and interstates.  We traveled in a motor home and saw so many sights.  I didn’t really appreciate it at the time, but my family allowed me to see and do and taste and try things from all across the nation.  Today, I am most grateful.  I remember watching out the windshield, map in hand, waiting to cross the border from one state into the next.  It was an exciting milestone on every journey and sometimes we would stop at a “welcome center” to learn more about where we were (and to get a free map).  It never occurred to me that laws could change dramatically by crossing a river or passing a sign.

Thomas Beatie, better known as the “pregnant man” gained international attention several years ago and now he’s finding himself back in the spotlight again.  Beatie, born female in the state of Hawaii had a state-authorized sex change before marrying his wife Nancy in 2003 and has since given birth to three children.  The state of Hawaii recognized him as a man complete with a new social security number.

His family relocated to Phoenix, Arizona and, unfortunately, the marriage began to deteriorate.  The 37-year-old man filed eventually for divorce but a local judge wants more information to determine if Beatie’s marriage is even valid.  Apparently, the Arizona judge is concerned that, despite laws in Hawaii and a history of legal documentation, Beatie is not a man.  Therefore, under Arizona law which defines marriage as only between one man and one woman, the Beaties may not be legally married.  Therefore, it could be argued, they cannot divorce.

Beatie could get a divorce in Hawaii, but it would require that he quit his job, relocate to Hawaii in order to establish residence, endure unnecessary expense and emotional upheaval associated with separation from his children … all while dealing with the turmoil of divorce.  Because of the ill-fated Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), states are not always required to recognize marriages from other states and, consequently, laws are not always applied fairly.

Children crossing a bridge and getting excited about entering a new state should be able to assume that the laws, and consequently their rights, will remain intact as they travel across the UNITED States of America.  It would appear that the Beatie marriage is another reason to believe that DOMA is unconstitutional.

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7 Comments
  1. Mr. Beatie’s situation is entirely absurd. First, he was born in the wrong gendered body and had to fight to have this corrected. Second, and this is the part that has me confused, he considers himself male (which is why I am deliberately choosing the pronouns that I am using) but continues to go through pregnancies as if he were still a woman. Finally, he is trapped in his marriage because Arizona wants him to be a second class citizen.

    Of these three points, the only one that ought to be a big question is the second. The first was managed. The third is a clear sign that we have a caste system in the United States, a clear sign that the Full Faith and Credit clause of the United States Constitution is being violated, a clear sign that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is being violated. It is time for equality now.

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    • Thanks for your comment. I completely agree with your assessment. The situation is absurd and, frankly, of Mr. Beatie’s own doing. By trying to have his cake and eat it, too, he has chosen to be a legally male individual yet has given birth several times. There are no existing laws that apply to this situation.

      His marriage, however, is a different matter. Any marriage that is valid in one state should, clearly, be valid in the rest. As long as DOMA stands, the States of our Nation are simply not “United”.

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  2. That’s a terrible situation and it really sucks that DOMA has such archaic laws to keep people down like that.

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    • A challenge to California’s Proposition 8, and consequently DOMA, will soon reach the Supreme Court. I’m hopeful that the Justices will agree with the lower courts’ rulings, strike down the discriminatory state law and apply it on a federal level. All loving couples should have access to the federal rights afforded to citizens via civil marriage.

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  3. mary i permalink

    This is a Mess! DOMA is wrong and out of control. I feel for him but as you said: It is of his own doing. To many questions in my mind on this one…

    Like

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