SCOTUS allows transgender military ban to go into effect

Supreme Court of the United States.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court of the United States has allowed the Trump administrations ban on transgender military members to go into effect while the case goes through the courts.

Multiple media outlets reported the ruling early Tuesday. The Washington Post reported that it lifted the nationwide injunctions courts had placed on the administration.

From the Post:

It reversed an Obama administration rule that would have opened the military to transgender men and women and instead barred those who identify with a gender different from the one assigned at birth and who are seeking to transition.

The court’s five conservatives — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh — allowed the restrictions to go into effect while the court decides whether to consider the merits of the case.

The liberal justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — would have kept the injunctions in place.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the new policy bars transgender individuals from serving unless they serve “in their biological sex” and do not seek to undergo a gender transition. Military members who started their transition already with the Obama-era rule can still continue to serve.

“The Supreme Court’s decisions today are perplexing to say the least: on the one hand denying the Trump administration’s premature request for review of lower court rulings before appellate courts have ruled and rebuffing the administration’s attempt to skirt established rules; and yet on the other allowing the administration to begin to discriminate, at least for now, as the litigation plays out,” Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn said.

“For more than 30 months, transgender troops have been serving our country openly with valor and distinction, but now the rug has been ripped out from under them, once again. We will redouble our efforts to send this discriminatory ban to the trash heap of history where it belongs.”

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit, Karnoski v. Trump, in August 2017, on behalf of nine individual plaintiffs and three organizational plaintiffs – the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Seattle-based Gender Justice League, and the American Military Partner Association (AMPA). The State of Washington later joined the lawsuit.

“Allowing Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s transgender troop ban to go into effect harms both transgender service members and our national security,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride. “As this critical matter makes its way through the courts, brave transgender patriots deserve to have their constitutional rights protected. Today’s decision thrusts this administration’s discriminatory agenda onto a military that clearly doesn’t want it, and does so at the expense of transgender people’s careers and service – and we remain committed to fighting for all transgender troops and thank Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN for their tireless work representing us in this case.”

UPDATED:

Peoria Proud released this statement on their Facebook page.

Today (January 22nd), the Supreme Court allowed the transgender military ban proposed by President Trump in July of 2017 to take effect in a 5-4 ruling. While Department of Defense officials have stated this ban does not officially ban all transgender individuals, even the exceptions to the ban force transgender individuals to deal with innumerable obstacles in their fight to serve our country. The rhetoric of this ruling is fully unacceptable and inherently discriminatory towards the transgender community.

However, this unprecedented attack reflects the continued efforts of the current administration to undermine LGBTQ freedoms (in this case, particularly transgender freedoms). Repeated attempts to erase the transgender experience will not be tolerated, and directly contradict the vision of Peoria Proud. Therefore, we take an unfaltering stance against the Supreme Court ruling today. We will continue to fight for transgender justice, even in light of such troubling developments.

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