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Judge blocks divorce for transgender pregnant man

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Thomas Beatie, his wife Nancy and daughter Susan Juliette in a German TV studio in 2008. (AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz) Thomas Beatie, his wife Nancy and daughter Susan Juliette in a German TV studio in 2008. (AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz)
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PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

He made headlines worldwide as "the Pregnant Man." But Thomas Beatie is finding his legal status as a husband puzzling after a judge refused to grant the transgender man a divorce.

Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach said in a ruling Friday on Beatie's divorce request that Arizona's ban on same-sex marriages prevents the nine-year union from being recognized as valid.

Beatie was born a woman and underwent a double-mastectomy but retained female reproductive organs and gave birth to three children.

Gerlach said he had no jurisdiction to approve a divorce because there is insufficient evidence that Beatie was male when he married Nancy Beatie in 2003 in Hawaii.

Thomas Beatie is eager to end his union, but the couple's divorce plans stalled when Gerlach was unable to find legal authority defining a man as someone who can give birth.

Ryan Gordon, a spokesman for Beatie, was scheduled to issue a public statement on the ruling Friday morning in front of Arizona Superior Court in Phoenix but was not available. He said he and Beatie received a copy of the ruling prior to its public release.

A news conference is expected to be scheduled for next week, Gordon said.

Gordon said Thomas Beatie "is saddened by the decision." Gordon said the case was never about trying to help people understand the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but was about creating a place where the Thomas children would be "treated equally."

Nancy Beatie's legal counsel is David Higgens.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.