Ever heard of a judge telling a couple they can't divorce? That's what's happened to the so-called Pregnant Man, Thomas Beatie, and wife Nancy. The couple who separated last spring have been told they can't divorce because transgender Thomas and wife married in Hawaii, a state that doesn't recognize same sex marriage. The way the courts tell it; they were never married to begin with!
So what's a couple to do? Throw up their hands and say, well, that was easy, now we don't have to pay for a costly divorce? Nope, the Pregnant Man and his wife, who technically want a divorce, are now fighting ... for the right to be married.
Good for them!
It might sound counter-intuitive to most folks. Wouldn't you want to just save yourself the aggravation? And the money?
OK, sure, maybe. But what about the principle of things? Does money and aggravation really matter if you're folding on your strongest beliefs?
This is where you separate the wheat from the chafe, so to speak. Plenty of people will shoot their mouths off about a particular issue on Facebook, but if someone asks them to put a little time or God forbid their own money into it, they balk.
Not the Beaties. This is their lives, and they're not going down without a fight.
At the time of their wedding, the transgender Thomas had legal documents showing he'd transitioned from female to male, but as we've all learned from his three highly publicized pregnancies, that didn't include what's known as "bottom surgery" in trans circles (basically he kept his reproductive organs). A court in Arizona, where the Beaties live, contends that means their marriage was actually a same sex union.
Since Hawaii doesn't recognize same sex marriage, that means there is no marriage. And if there is no marriage, there is no divorce for the pregnant man.
For a couple that just wants to be over with this marriage thing, it would probably end there.
It says a lot about the Beaties that they're willing to put themselves through a lot of court time to fight this. Nancy says that essentially the courts have now made her children bastards (her word, not mine) by erasing their marriage, making the fight somewhat personal. But this is also a fight on behalf of every transgender person in America.
The outcome of this case could set precedent for the approximately 1 percent of the population who identifies as trans (which may not sound like a lot, but 1 percent of 313,914,040 is huge, folks!). If the court has to recognize the Beaties' marriage in order to OK their divorce, it can provide protections for thousands of other folks who worry that their own unions could be contested despite legal documentation.
Giving up now could save the Beaties a lot of time and money now, but fighting the good fight and winning is something they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
What would you do in their situation? Would you stand up and fight or just accept the easy path?
Image via Getty Images/Patrik Stollarz