Federal judge in DC blocks part of Trump’s transgender military ban – Washington Post
A federal judge in D.C. partially blocked the Trump Administration’s proposed transgender military ban, writing in a strongly worded opinion that the policy “does not appear to be supported by any facts.”
U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued the preliminary injunction Monday, finding a group of transgender service members seeking to have the ban declared unconstitutional would have a strong chance of prevailing in their lawsuit.
Specifically, Kollar-Kotelly stayed a directive set to go into effect in March 2018 that would have blocked military recruitment of transgender people and would have forced the dismissal of current transgender service members. The injunction remains in place until the lawsuit is resolved.
Kollar-Kotelly allowed to stand a part of the proposal that would bar military health funds from being used for sex reassignment surgery.
The ruling effectively reverses the Trump policy to a previous one issued by the Obama administration that would allow transgender people to serve openly in the military. The Obama position came after the Pentagon found there was no basis to exclude transgender people from the military.
The Monday ruling was hailed by GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who brought the suit in August on behalf of five active duty transgender service members who had come out to their superiors and had more than 60 years in the military. It was the first of a handful of suits to challenge the ban.
“This is a complete victory for our plaintiffs and all transgender service members, who are now once again able to serve on equal terms and without the threat of being discharged,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter.
The Department of Justice, which had sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There is no official tally of transgender military members, and estimates vary widely. One recent study by the Rand Corp. put the number on active duty at about 2,500, while another from the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School estimated that there were 15,500 on active duty, in the National Guard and in the reserves.
Trump first floated his plan for a transgender military ban in a set of tweets in late July that surprised military leaders.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump wrote in the tweets. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
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