Published: Wed, August 30, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Donald Trump faces new lawsuit over ban on transgender military service

Donald Trump faces new lawsuit over ban on transgender military service

Today, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's ban on trangender military service, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs include both transgender people who are now serving in the military and transgender people who wish to serve but are no longer able to because of the ban.

Every justification that the president has offered in support of the ban has already been thoroughly reviewed and debunked by the Department of Defense itself when it adopted a policy permitting military service by transgender individuals past year.

The case was filed on behalf of six serving transgender members of the armed forces.

Thousands of transgender Americans now serve in the armed forces, putting themselves in harm's way to protect the rights and freedoms in the USA, the ACLU said in the complaint. "Men and women who are transgender with the courage and capacity to serve deserve more from their commander-in-chief".

The two cases argue the ban, set into motion by President Trump in July, violates USA constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process under the Fifth Amendment.

Basically, the lawsuit argues kicking transgender people out of the military breaks the Constitution's mandate that they be treated the same as everyone else under the law.

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"Press reports indicate that President Trump's motivations in abruptly announcing a transgender ban were largely political, reflecting a desire to placate legislators and advisers who bear animus and moral disapproval toward men and women who are transgender in order to gain votes to pass a defense spending bill that included money to build a border wall with Mexico - a well-known priority for President Trump", the complaint reads.

And five other transgender service members sued the administration in early August, before the specifics of the ban were laid out.

"The secretaries have no prudence to modify approach or make cover exceptions for classes of administration individuals", the educators wrote in a reminder put out by the Palm Center.

The memo called on Mattis to submit a plan to Trump by February 21, 2018, on how to implement the changes. The only narrow question left open, the memo says, is what will happen to transgender people now in the armed forces who came out after that time.

"And we're confirming that going forward we will apply the same general principles, standards, and procedures to transgender service members as we do to all service members", he concluded. A Defense Department spokesman echoed that position at a briefing with reporters.

Schmid, who has served in South Korea, Germany and Iraq, claims that Trump's ban on transgender people joining the military has halted her appointment as a warrant officer. It leaves determination of what will happen to now serving transgender individuals to the Defense Department. "Questions about the litigation should be directed to the Department of Justice".

Jennifer Levi, director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders' Transgender Rights Project, said Monday that Trump's policy is a "slap in the face to service members who have devoted their lives to protecting the country".

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