Military to begin accepting transgender recruits after Trump delays appeal

Military to begin accepting transgender recruits after Trump delays appeal

The Pentagon will begin accepting transgender military recruits on Monday, Jan. 1, after the Trump administration decided not to appeal a court order blocking the president's ban.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday it would delay challenging the stay on President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE's transgender recruit ban before the Supreme Court.

“The Department of Defense [DOD] has announced that it will be releasing an independent study of these issues in the coming weeks. So rather than litigate this interim appeal before that occurs, the administration has decided to wait for DOD's study and will continue to defend the President's and Secretary of Defense’s lawful authority in district court in the meantime,” the DOJ said in a statement.

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President Trump announced the ban in July on Twitter and followed up with a memo in August directing the Pentagon to stop accepting transgender recruits and to put in place policies to deal with those already serving.

Four lawsuits were filed by groups and individuals opposing the ban.

Lower court judges placed a halt on the ban while those cases worked their way through the judicial system.

The administration appealed those stays, but federal appeals courts denied their request to delay accepting transgender recruits on Jan. 1, 2018.

The Trump administration had weighed asking the Supreme Court to intervene before dropping those plans Friday.

The Obama administration had set a July 1, 2017, deadline to begin allowing transgender recruits to enlist.

Trump Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisMattis says he'll dispatch Navy hospital ship to help Venezuelan migrants Pentagon, GOP breathe sign of relief after Trump cancels parade Overnight Defense: Pompeo creates 'action group' for Iran policy | Trump escalates intel feud | Report pegs military parade cost at M MORE changed the deadline to Jan. 1 before Trump announced his ban. 

This story was last updated at 8:26 p.m.