LGBT Rights Group Vows To Sue Trump Over 'Shameful' Trans Military Ban
11 August, 2017, 00:33
Although it could be perceived as counterintuitive to file a lawsuit before the ban is implemented, Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said that active transgender service members were already being affected by the uncertainty.
In a Twitter post on July 26, Trump said the United States government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity" in the military, a reversal of Pentagon policy that the lawsuit said was made without consulting senior military commanders.
The five are filing the lawsuit along with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
The policy has yet to be formally implemented, but the White House says it is working with the Defense Department on guidance.
"Plaintiffs have served honorably and successfully in the military since coming out as transgender, and their transgender status has not had any detrimental effect on their ability to serve or to fulfill their duties", they added.
The Obama administration repealed the ban on transgenders serving openly in the military in June 2016, and since then, the services have been preparing policies to allow transgender recruits to join.
The Coast Guard's highest ranking officer said Tuesday that he "will not break faith" with transgender service members under his command despite a recent announcement by the Trump administration. 'My experience has been positive and I am prouder than ever to continue to serve.
I am disappointed that The News ran the headline: "Trump angers LGBT community, bars transgender people from USA military".
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In a statement, one of the plaintiffs said they were anxious about what would happen to their family if the ban went into effect.
It asks the court to declare Trump's directive unconstitutional and to issue injunctions to stop it.
It claims violation of the plaintiffs' equal protection and due process rights under the U.S. Constitution by banning their service without any justification. So far, the Pentagon has not issued any official directive, as it has not yet received guidance from the White House.
Since the presidential announcement two weeks ago, the White House has not specified the Pentagon, the procedure to follow, therefore, the policy of acceptance of transgender people remains in place at this stage.
Estimates on how many transgender people now serve in the military vary widely, but Rand Corp. recently estimated there were more than 6,600 on the high end.
The lawsuit names as defendants President Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, among others. If enacted, approximately 15,000 transgender people already part of the USA military would be affected by the ban, Slate reported.
Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD's transgender rights project, said in a statement the service of each of these transgender troops is valuable and the nation would be hurt by removing them.
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