A federal district judge halted President Trump’s plans to ban all transgender troops from joining or serving in the US military this afternoon.
Ruling for the plaintiffs in Doe v. Trump, who said the ouster was unconstitutional. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, sitting in Washington, DC, held that the reasons given by the White House for the summary exclusion of transgender individuals from the armed forces, “do not appear to be supported by any facts”, and cited a series of Tweets Trump posted last summer as a factor in her decision. “The unusual circumstances surrounding the president’s announcement,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote, “are inconsistent with established Defense Department and Executive Branch protocols and procedures“.
The case, which was brought in August by the ACLU, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), OutServe, and other LGBT groups for a “John/Jane Doe” plaintiff, stated that the Trump directive, which he signed in late August, violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal-protection clause, and “had nothing to do” with a given soldier or sailor’s fitness to serve.
Trump, who cited the “burden” trans troops placed on military readiness and his budget, said he had “consulted with [his] Generals” before taking the decision to implement the ban, which was to go into effect March 23, but the Pentagon said Defense Secretary James Mattis was on vacation when the President Tweeted his orders.
The edict will affect some 15,000 active-duty and reserve transgender service members in the five branches of the military. Among the difficult issues still being worked out by the Pentagon are the type of discharge these individuals would receive, whether they would be eligible for benefits such as VA medical care, and how such dismissals would impact the families of these troops.
The White House is expected to appeal today’s ruling, which places these soldiers and sailors in a continued state of limbo while they continue to serve.
The injunction is to stay in effect until the case is resolved, Kollar-Kotelly said.