Motions fly in lawsuits challenging transgender military ban

Thousands of U.S. transgender service members serve worldwide. Bilal Hussein, AP.

Groups in two lawsuits challenging President Trump’s ban on military service by transgender people asked federal court judges to issue an injunction preventing the enforcement of the ban.

Lambda Legal and OUtServe-SLDN, who filed a lawsuit at a federal district court in Washington state on August 28, today asked the judge in the case to “Immediately halt all steps taken to implement the Trump Administration’s discriminatory plan to ban transgender individuals from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services,” according to the Human Rights Campaign. (See The Gayly’s coverage of this case at Transgender military ban under siege in courts.)

The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in Baltimore on behalf of six transgender military service members, who among them have 49 years of service. That case asks a judge to immediately halt the transgender military service ban while the lawsuit moves through the court system.

“The motion for preliminary injunction was filed on behalf of the ACLU of Maryland and six current members of the armed forces who are transgender: Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Senior Airman John Doe, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert, Staff Sergeant Kate Cole, and Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker,” according to an ACLU press release announcing the lawsuit.

The Lambda/OutServe suit in Washington state was filed on behalf of two transgender persons who wish to join the military, as well as an active duty member of the U.S. Army with 12 years of service. That lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the President’s action.

In the ACLU filing, the organization argues that a preliminary injunction is needed to ensure that irreparable harm is not done to military personnel and potential enlistees who are transgender while the case is resolved in the courts. The ACLU motion argues that the ban violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process as well as the statutory right to medical care that all service members enjoy.

In the filing, the ACLU gives some of the history of the acceptance of transgender persons in the military: “At the culmination of a thorough process of research and analysis, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) concluded in 2016 that there was no basis for the military to exclude men and women who are transgender from openly serving their country, subject to the same fitness requirements as other service members.

“This review process carefully considered and rejected the notion that medical costs, military readiness, or other factors presented any plausible reason to discriminate against service members who are transgender, many of whom had already been serving with honor in silence for decades.”

It asserts that, “The Trump Administration has provided no evidence that this pronouncement was based on any analysis of the actual cost and disruption allegedly caused by allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly.”

When the courts will respond to the request for immediate injunctions is not yet known.

Copyright The Gayly – September 15, 2017 @ 12 p.m. CDT.