ACLU Takes On Trump’s Transgender Military Ban
The American Civil Liberties Union announced on Twitter Monday morning that it is filing a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
— ACLU National (@ACLU) August 28, 2017
The suit comes after Trump announced the ban in a series of tweets in July and signed a memo to the Pentagon preventing transgender people from enlisting. (It is unclear how this policy will affect current trans service people.) Trump’s move reversed the Obama administration’s removal of a trans service member ban the year prior.
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed a similar suit Monday morning on behalf of two transgender people who wish to enlist in the military, a transgender woman who has served in the U.S. Army for more than 12 years, the Human Rights Campaign and the Gender Justice League. The ACLU suit was filed on behalf of six trans service members.
Both lawsuits say the ban is a violation of equal protection and due process; the Lambda lawsuit also says it violates free speech protections.
“Without input from the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff, and without any deliberative process, President Trump cast aside the rigorous, evidence-based policy of the Open Service Directive, and replaced it with discredited myths and stereotypes, uninformed speculation, and animus against people who are transgender,” the ACLU lawsuit states.
The 39-page ACLU statement, which includes many of the President’s tweets, says: “The Trump administration has provided no evidence that this announcement was based on any analysis of the actual cost and disruption allegedly caused by allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly. … News reports indicate the Secretary of Defense and other military officials were surprised by President Trump’s announcement, and that his actual motivations were purely political, reflecting a desire to accommodate legislators and advisers who bear animus and moral disproval toward men and women who are transgender, with a goal of gaining votes for a spending bill that included money to build a border wall with Mexico.”
In addition, a group of current and former military professors released a memo Monday morning arguing that the President has left the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security little discretion in addressing the status of current transgender persons.“The secretaries have no discretion to rewrite policy or create blanket exemptions for classes of service members,” the professors wrote in a memo put out by the Palm Center. “The most they can decide are the individual fates of currently serving transgender personnel, whose presence will be inconsistent with new military policy.”
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