Questions Over Sex Change Snag Arizona Divorce Case

7:13 PM, Dec 31, 2012   |    comments
COLOGNE, GERMANY - DECEMBER 07: Thomas Beatie (R), Nancy Beatie and daughter Susan Juliette pictured during the RTL 2008 review show on December 07, 2008 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images)
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PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona couple seeking a divorce hit an unusual snag that could prevent the marriage from legally being dissolved.

A judge is questioning whether a same-sex marriage ban bars him from ending the union - or even recognizing its validity - because the husband was born a woman and underwent a sex change but retained female reproductive organs and gave birth to three children.

Thomas and Nancy Beatie are eager to end their nine-year marriage. But their divorce plans stalled when Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach said in late June that he was unable to find any legal authority defining a man as someone who can give birth. Gerlach has questioned whether the union was a same-sex marriage.

The judge is expected to issue a decision in early February.

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