Pregnant man fighting for divorce in Arizona courtPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- He's known as the world's first pregnant man, but he's now facing more controversy.
Thomas and Nancy Beatie now find themselves in the middle of more drama. They must convince an Arizona court system they aren't the same sex, therefore, they should be granted a divorce.
Nancy remembers after Thomas got pregnant, "We had death threats and people knew where we lived and from a lot of people there was a lot of outpouring of positive."
Thomas ended up giving birth to three children during his marriage to Nancy. The couple eventually relocated to Arizona. But last year, evidence their relationship was in trouble was leaked to the media.
"It was a very unhappy place for me for a few years," Nancy said.
The couple are now in the midst of trying to get a divorce. But as Nancy's attorney explains, "Arizona just doesn't have a body of law or authority to work off of."
Court documents show the judge is questioning if the union is actually a same-sex marriage and since that's banned in Arizona, the judge may not be able to grant the Beaties a divorce.
"Now we have to prove to the judge that we're man and woman, married, legally," Nancy said.
"Thomas wants to be treated as an equal," said his attorney, David Michael. "He doesn't want his children to be born out of wedlock or that he wasn't in a valid different-sex marriage. "
Thomas began testosterone treatment in the late 90s and by 2002, had a double mastectomy and chest reconstruction. He's been a man, legally, ever since.
"Once they said Thomas was a man, he could use that for any other purpose, passport, driver's license, marriage license," Cantor explained.
But the confusion seems to surround the fact that despite his sex-change operation, Thomas kept his reproductive organs.
"What held the judge up is wait a second, he had children, he didn't sterilize himself," Cantor said.
"Did Thomas undergo a sufficient enough change to make him now a male and then, of course, the giving birth part factored into that," Higgins explained.
According to Superior Court records, "it appears, by any reasonable standard, Thomas was the biological mother at the times his children were born."
"Under the dictionary definition of having child-bearing organs, that makes him a female by definition, but that's not the definition that the law looks at," Cantor said.
Thomas' attorney argues most transgender people don't become sterile, so it can't be used as a measurement of a successful sex change.
"Only 21 percent of female-to-male transsexuals actually get a hysterectomy," Cantor said. "That means 80 percent keep their reproductive organs."
"I think that this point, there is plenty of authority to back up our position," Higgins said.
Nancy is in a better place now. She simply wants to be mom to Susan, Austin and Jensen and close this chapter.
"I'm just standing up for the truth and what's right and I'm doing the right thing," she said. "I want this divorce and I want him to move on with his life and I want to move on with mine."
The Beaties are scheduled to make their next court appearance on Thursday.