Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Transgender man denied divorce in Arizona

The United States is in a period of change. This change will affect the rights of millions who are seeking the right to marry and divorce. Regardless of an individual's personal opinions, the sheer incongruity of current state laws results in real world challenges for those who seek to have them changed and the children for which they are responsible.

Last week, a transgendered man was denied a divorce by a judge in a nearby state. The denial was based on the fact that the state in which the man lives, like Utah, does not recognize same-sex marriages performed in any state. The case is further complicated by the fact that the man had legal documentation from over nine years ago which identifies him as a man.

It was using this documentation that he was granted a marriage in Hawaii. The man, who currently has a girlfriend, is caught in limbo as he is unable to divorce his wife and can't legally marry his current girlfriend.

In deciding the case the judge pointed to the fact that the man stopped his hormone treatment and proceed to give birth to three children during the time he claimed to be a man. In dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction the judge basically said that no evidence was presented that showed the state's definition of man had changed to one that allowed males to give birth. The conflict has left the man married in Hawaii but single in Arizona because the court does not recognize him as a man.

This case is likely to continue as both sides to the divorce are seeking an appeal. The issue will likely continue until after the U.S. Supreme Court makes its ruling on similar pending actions.

Source: ABC, "Pregnant Man' Thomas Beatie Will Appeal Divorce Denial," Alyssa Newcomb, April 2, 2013

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