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'Pregnant Man' Sees Divorce Bid Rejected

An Arizona judge has rejected a divorce petition from the so-called "pregnant man" who gave birth to three children after beginning to change his sex from female to male.

Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled that Arizona's ban on same-sex marriages prevents Thomas Beatie's nine-year marriage from being recognised as valid in the first place.

Mr Beatie was born a woman and had a double-mastectomy but retained female reproductive organs, later giving birth to three children.

Judge Gerlach said he could not approve a divorce because there is not enough evidence that Mr Beatie was a man when he married Nancy Beatie in Hawaii.

The couple's divorce plans stalled last summer when the judge said he could not find a legal definition of a man as someone who can give birth.

"The decision here is not based on the conclusion that this case involves a same-sex marriage merely because one of the parties is a transsexual male, but instead, the decision is compelled by the fact that the parties failed to prove that [Thomas Beatie] was a transsexual male when they were issued their marriage licence," he wrote in Friday's ruling.

The National Centre for Lesbian Rights, which is not involved in the Beatie divorce case, has said courts have declared marriages involving a transgender person invalid in a handful of cases across the country, but that those cases had different factual and legal issues from the Beatie case.

Thomas Beatie was born Tracy Lehuanani Lagondino in Oahu, Hawaii. He began testosterone treatments in 1997 and had chest reconstruction surgery in 2002.

He married Mrs Beatie in early 2003 in Honolulu and became pregnant because Mrs Beatie was unable to have children.

Mr Beatie conceived with donated sperm and gave birth to children who are now aged four, three and two. The couple eventually moved to Arizona.

He has been interviewed by talk show hosts including Larry King and Oprah Winfrey, and won a spot on journalist Barbara Walters' list of the 10 Most Fascinating People in 2008.

His book, Labor Of Love: The Story of One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy, features a cover image of him shirtless, sporting facial hair and holding a hand over his pregnant belly.