Transgender service members sue Trump administration for violating the constitution

29 August 2017, 12:30 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Courtesy

Courtesy

OutServe-SLDN and Lambda Legal filed a joint lawsuit today, and the other suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union with the firm of Covington and Burling, seeking to stop the ban from going into effect.

Each lawsuit challenges the president's assertions that transgender people are a burden on the military due to their medical costs and that their service hurts the military's "readiness", citing studies finding that the costs are "minimal" and that in the 18 countries that now allow transgender people to serve openly, "there has been no significant effect" on readiness or cohesion.

The two lawsuits follow an August 9 lawsuit featuring "5 transgender service members with almost 60 years of combined military service", according to a statement from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.

The complaint includes screenshots of Trump's surprise announcement of the ban on July 26. But Trump's memorandum goes a step further, prohibiting active-duty service members from acknowledging their transgender status and obtaining appointments as officers. Stone has received numerous commendations for his service.

- The ACLU also filed a lawsuit challenging the ban.

The administration of President Barack Obama made the decision previous year to end the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military after a lengthy period of study.

The lawsuit argues the service ban violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process. The document formalizes the discriminatory ban that Trump unexpectedly announced in a series of tweets last month, turning a pointless, bigoted idea into official United States policy.

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The ban is "purely political", the ACLU said, "reflecting a desire to placate legislators and advisers who bear animus and moral disapproval toward men and women who are transgender".

Both lawsuits discuss the methodic detail with which former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter over the course of one year under the Obama administration examined the issue of transgender service - a process that included commissioning a study by the RAND Corp. that found no drawbacks either to military readiness or medical costs. "Allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly and providing them with necessary health care does nothing to harm military readiness or unit cohesion".

Davidson said as of last week, transgender people were already being turned away from enlistment.

She, like thousands of others, has been left in limbo after President Trump left Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to decide whether to retain existing transgender recruits. Studies and advocates place the number of trans people now serving in the armed forces between 1,300 and 11,000. It leaves determining what will happen to transgender individuals now serving to the Defense Defense. The second federal lawsuit, Stone v. Trump, was filed in Maryland by the ACLU of Maryland.

"We do not comment on active or pending litigation", a White House official said.

A Department of Defense spokesperson said the Pentagon was aware of the lawsuit, but referred all questions to the Department of Justice.



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