McConnell Blocks Vote to Retain Transgender Troops Ban Despite Bipartisan Majority Support; Bipartisan Bill Introduced
Washington, DC –The National Center for Transgender Equality is disappointed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on an amendment that would have halted the implementation of President Trump's ban on transgender military service members. The bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, offered by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME), had clear majority support, but was not allowed to be put up for a vote.
But the fight to protect our troops is not over. NCTE is pleased that Senators Gillibrand and Collins, along with Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI). introduced this amendment as a standalone bill to protect transgender service members. The bill would prevent any military service member from being discharged solely for being transgender, and would require the Defense Department to study and report to Congress on the recruitment of transgender individuals. NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling offers the following statement:
"It is a shame that Senator Mitch McConnell failed our service members by refusing to allow a vote on an amendment with such broad bipartisan support. However, it is clear that a majority of Americans and a majority of the Senate oppose this senseless ban that harms our military and violates our values and our Constitution. Personnel policy should be based on whether someone can do the job -- and transgender troops have shown they can do they job. We will keep working until this ban is relegated to the dustbin of history."