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U.S. court blocks Trump's military transgender ban

U.S. court blocks Trump's military transgender ban

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Monday issued an order partially blocking President Donald Trump's proposed ban on military service by transgender persons, as a case against the ban works its way through court.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that transgender service members who had sued over Trump's policy were likely to win their lawsuit.

President Trump announced in a series of tweets in July that American forces could not afford the "tremendous medical costs and disruption" of transgender troops, and said "the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military".

Trump's directive reversed those policies by indefinitely extending the ban on transgender recruits and by requiring the military to oust transgender service members no later than March 23, 2018. The memo also gave Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPence to visit ICBM base McAfee stops allowing governments to review source code Terror designation for Iran's Revolutionary Guards a necessary first step MORE six months to determine what to do with transgender troops who are now serving. "They are now able to serve on equal terms with everyone else".

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Before Trump's August 25 directive, the Department of Defense had announced it would allow openly transgender people to enlist in the military beginning on January 1, 2018, and that transgender people were protected from being discharged due to their gender identities.

Mr Trump signed a memorandum in August that directed the U.S. military not to accept transgender men and women as recruits and halted the use of government funds for sex-reassignment surgeries for active-duty personnel unless the process is already under way.

"This court saw straight through the smokescreen the government tried to create to hide the bias and prejudice behind Trump's change in military policy".

Kollar-Kotelly didn't rule on the use of government resources to pay for sex reassignment surgeries for service members because the plaintiffs had not shown they would be impacted by it.

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Kollar-Kotelly said several factors suggest the plaintiffs' claims are meritorious.

"The federal courts are recognizing what everyone already knows to be true: President Trump's impulsive decision to ban on transgender people from serving in the military service was blatantly unconstitutional", said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project.

The new administration announced in June a six-month delay on implementing that ruling, then, in July, Trump surprised Pentagon leaders by announcing on Twitter a full ban on transgender people serving "in any capacity".

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