Judge Blocks Trump's Transgender Military Ban

Jerome Frank
October 31, 2017

A federal court on Monday partly blocked President Donald Trump's order that aims to keep transgender persons from joining the USA armed forces.

US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the government to "revert to the status quo" that was in effect before Trump ordered the contentious ban.

She did not rule on another section of the directive that banned using military resources to pay for sex reassignment surgeries.

"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.

A working group established by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had recommended past year that transgender people should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

His goal was to turn back the policy to the way it was before June 2016, when service members could be discharged for being transgender.

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The Trump administration can still appeal the decision, which is a likely next step. 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. Transgender individuals were to be allowed to enlist in the military in June 2017, a timeline initially delayed under the Trump administration to January 1, 2018.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD, issued a statement about the ruling in favor of plaintiffs from their organization and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

"This court saw straight through the smokescreen the government tried to create to hide the bias and prejudice behind Trump's change in military policy". They highlighted the uncertainty facing Regan Kibby, the transgender Naval Academy student who - because of Trump's action - was unsure whether he would be able to join the Navy on graduation.

"There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all", Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her ruling, according to Bloomberg.

Transgender groups sued the administration in late August on behalf of transgender service members, arguing that the ban was discriminatory and violated their constitutional right to due process equal protection under the law.

Other lawsuits challenging the president's directive have been filed in Seattle and Baltimore.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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