U.S. House passes bill to overturn transgender military ban

The United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Image by MotionStudios from Pixabay)
The United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Image by MotionStudios from Pixabay)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would overturn the Trump administration’s ban on transgender service members.

The bill is an amendment from U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. It would codify the military’s existing equal opportunity policies to include non-discrimination protections on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

“This is a crucial moment for our elected officials to bring accountability to a reckless and lawless policy,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. This bigoted ban has brought chaos to prospective recruits, active duty servicemembers, and countless families forced to watch their dedication and duty soiled by a self-interested President. The military wants and needs qualified transgender people, and we applaud this action by the House to ensure that every person willing and able to serve is allowed to serve. It will now be up to the Conference Committee and the President whether to embrace equal opportunity or discrimination.”

“Transgender troops have served openly with distinction for years, and they and their fellow service members deserve nothing less than the respect of a grateful nation,” says Sarah McBride, HRC National Press Secretary. “The Trump-Pence administration’s trans troop ban goes against medical experts, military leadership and budget analysts; it is unsound, unpopular, and unpatriotic. We are grateful to Congresswoman Speier and the strong, bipartisan majority of the House who voted for this amendment to ensure all transgender military service members have equal non-discrimination protections.”

The ban went into effect on April 12, but challenges to it are still working their way through the courts.