Judge largely blocks Trump's military transgender ban

31 October, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Ban On Transgender Service Members In The Armed Forces

It's more bad news for Donald Trump: The same his campaign advisor Paul Manefort was indicted, a federal court judge blocked the president's ban on transgender service people in the U.S. Armed Forces.

A federal judge has barred the Trump administration from changing its military policy to ban transgender troops.

"As far as the court is aware at this preliminary stage, all of the reasons proffered by the president for excluding transgender individuals from the military in this case were not merely unsupported, but were actually contradicted by the studies, conclusions and judgment of the military itself", Kollar-Kotelly wrote, referring to the military's 2016 Obama-era study that led to allowing openly transgender military recruits. About five years after lifting the ban on the open service of gay and lesbian Americans, the Department of Defense announced in 2016 that transgender people could serve openly as well.

The Trump administration can still appeal the decision, which is a likely next step.

Most parts of the ban were set to take effect in 2018, but as Lambda Legal senior attorney Peter Renn said in a phone call, the ban was already causing immediate harm to those enlisted or planning to join the military. The group said that banning qualified transgender service members undermines military effectiveness and readiness because the policy creates unexpected vacancies and additional recruitment.


Kollar-Kotelly enjoined enforcement of a directive by President Trump that would ban transgender recruits and would oust transgender people already in the military.

At the same time, however, she dismissed the plaintiffs' motion to block a ban on funding for sex-reassignment surgery. He followed with an August memo directing the Pentagon to extend indefinitely a ban on transgender individuals joining the military, and gave Defense Secretary Jim Mattis six months to come up with a policy on "how to address" those who are now serving.

Photo Protesters gathered in front of the White House in July after President Trump announced that transgender people may not serve "in any capacity" in the United States military. The administration has sought to prohibit such payments; Kollar-Kotelly said she didn't have jurisdiction to rule on the issue because none of the plaintiffs in the case established a likelihood of being impacted by that prohibition. The decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia means that people who are now in the military can not be discharged "just for being transgender", she says.

Several politicians also supported the court's decision on Twitter.

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