Federal court blocks Trump ban on transgender service members

  • Federal court blocks Trump ban on transgender service members

Federal court blocks Trump ban on transgender service members

Roy Moore, extremist anti-LGBTQ GOP U.S. Senate candidate and the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, is calling for the removal of a federal judge who blocked Donald Trump's ban on transgender military service.

The "exclusion of transgender individuals inherently discriminates against current and aspiring service members on the basis of their failure to conform to gender stereotypes", Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her 76-page decision. "Donald Trump's erratic tweets and half-baked orders disrespect the bravery of the countless transgender people who have fought, and in many cases died, for their country". The memo called for trans members of the military to, once again, be eligible for discharge based on their gender identity, and for would-be service members who are openly trans to be prohibited from joining the military, effective on January 1, 2018.

The memo called on Defense Secretary James Mattis to submit a plan to Trump by February 21 on how to implement the changes, and the Pentagon has created a panel of senior officials for that objective.

Under the new preliminary injunction, this portion of the memo is unenforceable and the Pentagon policy is once again in effect. She also contended that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in arguing that the directives were unconstitutionally discriminatory - targeting transgender people without evidence that their service caused substantive problems for the military. The "Jane Doe" plaintiffs were later joined by a "John Doe".

The lack of "facts", the "sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives", the "unusual" way in which they were announced, and "the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself" all led Kollar-Kotelly to side with the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit - which was filed by six anonymous transgender soldiers and two recruits - charges that Trump's ban violates their rights to due process and equal protection, particularly after old policies instructed trans soldiers to come out to their chain of command. Like other messily made Trump administration policies, the transgender military ban is headed for a long journey in court. The ACLU has a separate challenge pending in Maryland, on behalf of several named active service members.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said: "The US District Court's temporary halt of the trans military ban is a major step forward in exposing President Trump's policy as a hate-fuelled attack on some of the bravest Americans who serve and protect our nation".