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Arizona Judge Ponders Jurisdiction in Divorce Case of Pregnant Man

Posted Dec 13, 2012 9:54 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Arizona judge is considering whether he has jurisdiction to grant a divorce to a transgender male who married a woman and then gave birth to three children.

Judge Douglas Gerlach of Maricopa County is considering the issue in the case of Thomas Beatie, the Arizona Republic reports. Beatie says he became pregnant because his wife could not have children. He appeared on talk shows as the “pregnant man” and touts his public speaking experience on a website declaring himself a “Pop Culture Icon: The Pregnant Man.”

Beatie was allowed to change his birth certificate to say he is a man, and allowed to enter into marriage as a man, the story says. But Gerlach says same-sex marriages are not allowed in Arizona and he’s not sure whether he has jurisdiction. He asked the Arizona Attorney General's office for an opinion, but it declined. On Friday, Gerlach said he planned to rule by February.

Even if he does not have jurisdiction to grant the divorce, Gerlach said, he can still rule on custody and property division under his common law authority.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Legal Gender-Bender: Dad-to-Be Pregnant"

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