As Trump Seeks to Block Growing Rulings Against His Transgender Ban, Congress Must Act to End Uncertainty for the Military
Washington, DC—A third federal court today ruled that President Trump’s ban on retaining and recruiting transgender military service members is likely unconstitutional. The Washington State district court ruled in Karnoski v. Trump that “…the ban arbitrarily flew in the face of the Pentagon’s own studies and conclusions, and unconstitutionally targeted transgender people without any credible reason.” The Trump Administration is appealing rulings from courts in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and today the D.C. court denied an immediate stay to prevent transgender applicants from being evaluated for enlistment, beginning January 1. Meanwhile the Defense Department continue to study how to implement Trump’s ban, leaving thousands of troops and their units uncertain about the months ahead.
NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling offers the following statement:
“The administration’s dogged pursuit of discrimination underscores the urgency for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation, backed by the Senate Armed Services Chairman, that would stop this senseless ban once and for all. As long the President Trump continues to fight a losing battle in the courts, commanding officers will have the sword of Damocles hanging over some of their best troops, uncertain whether their deployment or promotion will be scuttled by the ban. The research, the law, the public, and a majority of Congress support allowing the military to retain the best talent—Congress simply needs to do its job.”
A bill (S. 1820/H.R. 4041) introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), John McCain (R-AZ), and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), would prohibit the discharge of service members solely because they are transgender.