Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military. The lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
The lawsuit — brought in response to President Trump’s formal issuance of directions to military authorities late Friday — was filed on behalf of two individuals who seek to join the military; one current service member who seeks appointment as an officer; the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization; and Gender Justice League, a gender and sexuality civil and human rights organization, headquartered in Seattle.
“This ban not only wrongfully prevents patriotic, talented Americans from serving, it also compromises the safety and security of our country,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said.
Says the group in the complaint: “Dripping with animus, the Ban and the current accessions bar violate the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Fifth Amendment and the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment. They are unsupported by any compelling, important, or even rational justification.”
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) August 28, 2017
Read the complaint HERE.
Towleroad’s Ari Ezra Waldman explained why the ban is unconstutional in a column earlier this month:
As I argued last month, this policy is unconstitutional and is a direct violation of Title VII, which protects individuals from sex based harassment in the workplace, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees that all persons will be treated equally.
This proposed policy, if implemented using Trump’s guidelines, would create a system that treats transgender service members unequally under the guise of “deployability.” This means that Defense Department will consider whether transgender persons can serve in a war zone, participate in exercises, live for months on a ship, and won’t require medical attention or medication. Because the new policy will discontinue Department of Defense Instruction 1300.28, which allowed transgender service members to transition while serving and allowed them to seek medical coverage for transitioning, it easy to see how very few transgender persons currently serving could qualify as “deployable” under these terms.
There is still zero evidence that medical costs of transgender service members are onerous. There is zero evidence that open service by transgender individuals hurts unit cohesion. There can be only one rationale for Trump’s transgender ban: animus. Several courts have held that discrimination based on gender-identity is discrimination based on sex: for example, failure to promote a woman because she acts too masculine, not feminine enough, or not according to traditional gender norms is discrimination that only a woman, because of her biological sex, would face. Such discrimination is “discrimination on the basis of sex.” Trump’s transgender ban is, therefore, discrimination on the basis of sex.
Read his full column HERE.