WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a nonbinding resolution that opposes the Trump administration’s ban on transgender servicemembers on Thursday.
Politico reported that the House voted 238-185 in favor of the resolution.
The measure is the majority Democrats’ first swipe at Trump’s reversal of the Obama-era policy allowing transgender individuals to serve openly, which the president announced in a tweet in July 2017.
Democrats have hammered Trump and the Pentagon for undoing the policy on a whim without consulting military leaders.
On the House floor Thursday, they slammed the policy as “targeted discrimination” without regard to whether transgender individuals can meet military standards.
“What this policy is primarily based on is ignorance and bias against the transgender community,” said House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.).
“There was no problem. This was not an issue … until the president decided in his words he wanted to ban transgender people from serving in the military,” Smith said. “He sent out a tweet … and the military has had to backfill that tweet with a policy.”
The LGBTQ rights groups applauded the resolution.
“Transgender service members have been serving openly throughout the U.S. Armed Forces with distinction for years, and, with this vote, the House has made clear that they support transgender troops,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride in a press release. “Today’s bipartisan majority in the U.S. House join leading medical associations, national security experts and former military officials in opposing this dangerous and discriminatory policy. We urge the U.S. Senate to take action so that every service member can know that the both chambers of Congress respect their service.”
“Any person who wishes to serve and protect the freedoms of this country should be able to do just that – regardless of their gender identity. It’s a welcoming reassurance that the elected leaders in the U.S. House support the more than 13,000 brave transgender service members who proudly dedicate their lives to our nation,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD.
“We are so happy to see the People’s House pass a resolution strongly rebuking the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender service members with bipartisan support. This important resolution is a helpful step towards showing President Trump that the public overwhelmingly opposes his discriminatory ban, which not only hurts our fellow Americans, but also our national security,” Sharon McGowan, Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer of Lambda Legal, said in a statement.
All Democrats voted for the resolution with only five Republicans joining them. Illinois representatives were split along party lines with all the Democrats voting for the resolution and the Republicans voting against it.
“Transgender Americans have served in the military with honor and distinction,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago). “They have fought, bled, and died for our country and deserve nothing less from their Commander in Chief than his unreserved support.”