A federal court in Washington is barring President Donald Trump from changing the government’s policy transgender people serving in the military.
Trump wrote an August memo overturning the Obama administration’s July 2016 policy that allowed troops to serve openly as transgender individuals.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote Monday that transgender members of the military who had sued over the change were likely to win their lawsuit. Thus, she barred the Trump administration from reversing course, according to The Associated Press.
She said plaintiffs “have established that they will be injured by these directives, due both to the inherent inequality they impose, and the risk of discharge and denial of accession that they engender,” CNN reported.
As a result, she blocked the parts of the order that deal with retaining and recruiting personnel.
However, the judge did uphold part of Trump’s ban — an end to funding for gender reassignment surgery.
Trump’s memo has been under study since it was issued on August 25.
Upon receipt of the presidential memo, Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered a wide-ranging study to best determine how to put the memo into practice. The study was expected to take about six months to conduct
“As directed, we will develop a study and implementation plan, which will contain the steps that will promote military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion, with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with applicable law,” Mattis said in an Aug. 29 statement.
“The implementation plan will address accessions of transgender individuals and transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military,” he said.
“Our focus must always be on what is best for the military’s combat effectiveness leading to victory on the battlefield. To that end, I will establish a panel of experts serving within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction,” Mattis added.
“Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction,” the statement said. “In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place.”
The Obama administration had set a deadline July 2017 to determine whether transgender people could be allowed to enter the military. Mattis had delayed that to Jan. 1, 2018. Trump’s memo sought to extend that indefintely.
Trump had initially announced the policy in a pair of July tweets.
“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump tweeted.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
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