The ACLU has asked for an immediate halt to Trump’s ban on transgender military service while its lawsuit moves through the court system.
The motion for preliminary injunction was filed on behalf of the ACLU of Maryland and six current members of the armed forces who are transgender: Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Senior Airman John Doe, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert, Staff Sergeant Kate Cole, and Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker.
In the filing, the ACLU argues that a preliminary injunction is needed to ensure that irreparable harm is not done to military personnel and potential enlistees who are transgender while the case is resolved in the courts. The ACLU motion argues that the ban violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process as well as the statutory right to medical care that all service members enjoy.
“Men and women who are transgender should be allowed to serve their country rather than being exposed to this level of uncertainty and harm,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project. “We’re confident that the courts will eventually strike down this unconstitutional ban. So we’re demanding a court order to prevent this shameful policy from ever being implemented.”
At the culmination of a thorough process, the Department of Defense concluded in 2016 that there was no basis for the military to exclude transgender individuals from openly serving their country, subject to the same fitness requirements as other service members. This review process carefully considered and rejected the notion that medical costs, military readiness, or other factors presented any reason to discriminate against transgender individuals, many of whom had already been serving with honor in silence for years.
Defense Secretary James Mattis (above) last month stalled Donald Trump’s order expelling transgender military service members, delaying implementation of the order until further study is undertaken.
Mattis’s announcement was slammed by NCLR’s Shannon Minter:
This…is playing into a patently bogus strategy to make it appear that there is going to be some new “study” that will legitimate what is already a forgone conclusion: the discriminatory banning of military service by transgender people, based on a characteristic that has no bearing on their fitness to serve. The August 25 Memorandum is perfectly clear: President Trump has ordered the military to ban transgender people from serving. That ban will go into effect in about 7 months, on March 23. That appalling decision is not (and cannot possibly be, given its timing) based on any hastily assembled, post hoc “study” that is being cooked up now in a transparent effort to provide a retroactive fig leaf for the President’s bigotry. This order is an act of pure animus toward transgender people. The military spent two years carefully reviewing all of the relevant evidence on this issue and concluded that there is no reason to exclude transgender people from military service. The cost of inclusion is literally negligible, and there is no evidence that permitting open service will have any negative impact on military readiness. The notion that there is any good faith “study” being conducted is a blatant pretext for unmitigated, vicious, baseless discrimination.