Judge orders military to start accepting transgender enlistees

Judge tells military, start accepting transgender enlistees January 1. CNN graphic.

Washington D.C. US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an order in October directing the U.S. military services to start accepting transgender enlistees on January 1, 2018. On Monday, the judge clarified that she indeed is ordering enlistments to begin in January.

The Justice Department is appealing that order, but as part of that process asked the judge for a “clarification” to her order.

The clarification sought, according to the judge, was that Secretary of Defense James Mattis could use his discretion to extend the January deadline, which he had set in June. Mattis’ June order extended the original deadline of July 1, 2017 set by the Obama administration.

If the judge clarified her order that way, Mattis could simply extend the deadline again.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs, five unnamed transgender people, argued the Justice department wasn’t genuinely seeking a clarification, but was seeking a change in her order allowing the Secretary to use his discretion.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly yesterday clarified her order, but not in the way the Defense Department wanted.

She wrote, “The Court explained that the effect of its Order was to revert to the status quo with regard to accession and retention that existed before the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum – that is, the retention and accession policies established in the June 30, 2016 Directive-type Memorandum as modified by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on June 30, 2017. Those policies allowed for the accession of transgender individuals into the military beginning on January 1, 2018. Any action by any of the Defendants that changes this status quo is preliminarily enjoined.”

In other words, they would have to start accepting otherwise qualified transgender people into the military services beginning January 1, unless their appeal is successful.

One other federal judge, in Maryland, has ruled against President Trump’s order in August following his tweets in July that said he was banning military service by transgender people. Another, in Washington state, has promised a decision in December.

The Justice Department has indicated it is appealing both the District of Columbia and Maryland orders.

For more on the transgender military ban, visit:
Second court trashes Trump’s transgender ban
DC court bars Trump from reversing transgender troops policy
DOJ ignores harm, asks court to dismiss transgender military ban challenge
Motions fly in lawsuits challenging transgender military ban
Transgender military ban under siege in courts.

Copyright The Gayly – November 28, 2017 @ 10:05 a.m. CST.