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Ban on Transgender Service Members Partially Blocked
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Transgender military

Summary: A federal judge has allowed a block on the order banning transgender individuals from joining or being part of the U.S. military.

When President Donald Trump announced his memorandum banning transgender Americans from serving in the military, he did so knowing it would cause an uproar. The memorandum hasn’t gotten far with a federal judge blocking the primary parts of it until an appeal can be officially handled.

  
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Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly blocked the parts of the memorandum regarding enlistment and retention of transgender military service members. She found the plaintiffs “have established that they will be injured by these directives, due both to the inherent inequality they impose, and the risk of discharge and denial of accession that they engender.”

Kollar-Kotelly had a big issue with how President Trump made the initial announcement. His use of Twitter came “without any of the formality or deliberative processes that generally accompany the development and announcement of major policy changes that will gravely affect the lives of many Americans.”

The partial block allows for a preliminary injunction pending an appeal by the plaintiffs – current and aspiring service members who happen to be transgender. She believes an appeal will “likely succeed” through due process claims.  Her says her order was set to “revert to the status quo’ in place before the memo on August 25. That memo indefinitely prohibited those who are transgender from entering the military and required the military to discharge transgender service members no later than March 23, 2018.

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The Trump administration has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, arguing that the Pentagon was still studying how to implement the order and no action would be taken until the policy review had been completed. They also argued that the “federal courts owe the utmost deference to the political branches in the field of national defense and military affairs, both because the Constitution commits military decisions exclusively to those branches and because courts have less competence to second-guess military decision making.”

Kollar-Kotelly didn’t buy their arguments. She ruled that even though the policy is still subject to changes, “The memorandum unequivocally directs the military to prohibit indefinitely the accession of transgender individuals and to authorize their discharge.”



Justice Department spokeswoman Laure Ehrsam said, “We disagree with the court’s ruling and are currently evaluating the next steps.” She added, “Plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging military service requirements is premature for many reasons, including that the Defense Department is actively reviewing such service requirements, as the President ordered, and because none of the Plaintiffs have established that they will be impacted by current policies on military service.”

In the 76-page opinion by Kollar-Kotelly, she addressed the initial announcement on July 26 that did “not appear to be supported by any facts.” She included a screenshot of the tweet in her opinion, which read, “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.”

She wanted to see facts on this. She said, “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.”

Do you think there is any actual evidence to support this ban on transgender service members? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about President Trump’s bans, read these articles:

Photo: glaad.org



 

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