Same-sex marriage issues: No divorce for transgendered man

Massachusetts readers may remember media coverage of the ‘pregnant man’ that made the rounds a few years ago. The individual in question is a transgendered man who has been legally married to a woman since 2003. When his wife was unable to become pregnant, he made the decision to carry the couple’s three children. The marriage faltered in recent years, however, leading both spouses to seek a divorce.

Their desire to divorce has proved troublesome. This is due to the fact that while they were legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, they later relocated to one that does not. As a result, their divorce has encountered a number of legal challenges, and has seemingly stalled out following a recent hearing on the matter.

An Arizona judge recently ruled that the couple cannot be divorced in that state, due to the fact that there is state ban on gay marriage. In making that decision, the judge heard evidence that the man in question underwent testosterone treatments as well as elective surgery to transform himself into a man. However, the judge ruled that the man did not make any subsequent non-surgical efforts, and halted hormone therapy at some point prior to the hearing.

As this case demonstrates, same-sex couples often have to negotiate legal processes that are far more complicated than those that heterosexual couples may encounter, in Massachusetts and elsewhere. When a gay or transgendered couple relocates to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, significant legal issues can arise. In this case, the couple is left to contemplate their next move as they continue to seek a legal divorce that will end their legal marriage.

Source: USA Today, “Transgender man known for his pregnancy not allowed to divorce?” March 29, 2013

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