Thomas Beatie

Transgender Law Center recently filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Arizona Court of Appeals in response to an Arizona Superior Court ruling that a transgender man’s marriage was invalid.

Thomas Beatie has lived as a man for the past 15 years. Before he and his wife married in 2003, Mr. Beatie had undergone significant medical treatment as part of his gender transition, including surgery and hormone treatment, and legally changed the gender marker on his birth certificate. Last year, though, an Arizona Superior Court denied the couple’s request for a divorce, holding that Thomas was legally female because he had given birth to the couple’s children. The couple appealed that decision to the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Transgender Law Center’s amicus brief clarifies for the Court of Appeals that Thomas had met all the legal and medical requirements to be recognized as male and that the couple’s marriage was therefore a valid different-sex marriage. The brief also points out that a state could not impose a requirement that a transgender person be sterilized or otherwise refrain from having biological children before they can be legally recognized in accordance with their gender identity. That kind of requirement would violate the well-established constitutional right to have children and would unfairly punish the couple’s children by denying legal recognition to their parents’ relationship.

Our brief was filed with the pro bono assistance of Phoenix attorney Claudia Work of the Campbell Law Group, Chartered. Thomas Beatie is represented by the Cantor Law Group.

Download (PDF, 138KB)