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Another Court Blocks Trump's Ban on Transgender Service Members

11-22-2017
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A federal court this week blocked President Donald Trump's directive which bans transgender people from serving in the military.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced the decision, saying the court granted the ACLU's request to stop the implementation of the order while the organization's lawsuit against the ban moves forward.

The ACLU stated the preliminary injunction prevents the president from removing transgender people currently serving, from keeping transgender people from enlisting and from banning military men and women from having transition-related surgery.

"The ACLU filed its motion for a preliminary injunction in September, arguing that the ban violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment," an ACLU news release stated. 

"The lawsuit further argues that the ban discriminates based on sex and transgender status and that the ban is based on uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, moral disapproval, and a bare desire to harm this already vulnerable group," the release continued.

"Today is a victory for transgender service members across the country," said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project, in a statement. "We're pleased that the courts have stepped in to ensure that trans service members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."

The judge said active-duty transgender service members are "already suffering harmful consequences," according to The Washington Post

A Department of Justice spokesperson disapproved of the decision.

"We disagree with the court's ruling and are currently evaluating the next steps," Lauren Ehrsam, a DOJ spokesperson, told ABC News.

"Plaintiffs' lawsuit challenging military service requirements is premature for many reasons, including that the Defense Department is actively reviewing such service requirements, as the president ordered, and because none of the plaintiffs have established that they will be impacted by current policies on military service," she continued.

"First and foremost, the health and welfare of our service members is of the utmost importance, and one of our top priorities," US Army Major Dave Eastburn, a spokesman for the Pentagon, told ABC News in a statement.

"That said, current interim guidance laid forth by the Secretary of Defense clearly states that persons diagnosed with gender dysphoria, by a military medical professional, will continue to serve," he continued.

"The current policy is under review and a recommendation will be made on the conditions of that policy from the Secretary to the White House sometime early next year," Eastburn said.

The White House also weighed in on the court's decision, the second legal block against the president's ban.

"The president's directive is legal and promotes our national security," Hogan Gidley, deputy press secretary, said in a statement to ABC News. "The Department of Justice will vigorously defend it."

Trump tweeted the ban in July. "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," the president wrote. 

Trump then signed a presidential memo banning the military from enlisting transgender people and from paying for transition-related surgery. The memo also allowed Secretary of Defense James Mattis six months to create a policy regarding transgender men and women currently serving in the nation's armed forces. 

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