Court Battles

ACLU sues Trump over transgender ban

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing President Trump over his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

The ACLU made the announcement on Twitter on Monday morning.

“BREAKING: We’re taking @realDonaldTrump to court to challenge the unconstitutional transgender military ban,” they wrote. 


Trump, in a memo on Friday, directed the Department of Defense to stop accepting transgender people who enlist for military service.

{mosads}He had earlier announced his plans on Twitter to ban transgender people from the armed forces.

Trump said he had consulted with “generals and military experts” and decided the “United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you,” he said in a second tweet last month.

Soon after, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders filed a lawsuit on behalf of five transgender service members, arguing the policy change violates the equal protection component of the due process clauses of the Fifth Amendment.

The 39-page complaint, filed by the ACLU’s Maryland Chapter on behalf of six military service members in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, is embedded with Trump’s tweets and claims the ban not only violates the Fifth Amendment but is invalid on its face.

“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,” the group wrote.

“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.”

LGBT rights groups Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN also announced on Monday morning that they had filed a lawsuit against Trump over the transgender military ban.

“This ban not only wrongfully prevents patriotic, talented Americans from serving, it also compromises the safety and security of our country,” Peter Renn, Lambda Legal’s senior attorney, said in a statement. “Thousands of current service members are transgender, and many have been serving openly, courageously and successfully in the U.S. military for more than a year — not to mention the previous decades when many were forced to serve in silence.”

Lambda Legal filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on behalf of Ryan Karnoski, a 22-year-old social worker from Seattle who wishes to become an officer doing social work for the military, Staff Sergeant Cathrine “Katie” Schmid, a 33-year-old woman and 12-year member of the U.S. Army, and Drew Layne, high school student from Corpus Christi, Texas, who is about to turn 17 and wants to join the Air Force with parental consent. The suit is also brought on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign and the Gender Justice League.

“The Ban and current accessions bar are motivated by impermissible animus towards transgender people and are thus invalid as a whole,” the groups wrote in their 29-page complaint.

–This report was last updated at 10:29 a.m.

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