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When Law and Science collide in a Divorce

First comes science, then comes law.

At present, residents of Arizona who wish to legally change their gender can do so by applying for an amended birth certificate. They accomplish this by having a doctor affirm that the applicant has undergone a legal “sex change operation,” among other requirements. But like the choices we make today, consequences can often arise tomorrow. Case in point, Thomas Beatie. Mr. Beatie was born a woman, he underwent the legally required changes to his physical appearance, got his doctor’s affirmation and was granted an amended birth certificate in Hawai’i. He was subsequently married there and changed other government-issued Hawaiian (and national) identifications. However, nine years after his amended birth certificate, Mr. Beatie’s legal gender and marriage are being questioned by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge.

As the article below illustrates, Mr. Beatie’s case may have lasting implications on the future of family law in Arizona and abroad. Why? Because the science, which gave rise to legislative action in recognizing one’s ability to change gender has not been applied in family courts in divorce cases. It also raises the novel question of whether legal men can give birth to children. We anxiously await to see whether the Superior Court will defer to the legislature, which certainly considered implications of allowing a person to change legal gender when it decides the legality of Mr. Beatie’s marriage.

The Cantor Law Group is actively and aggressively challenging the court’s rationale in questioning whether Mr. Beatie is indeed a legal man and whether he has a valid marriage. The Firm believes that sound science supports the conclusion that Mr. Beatie is a man and his marriage is valid.

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