Trump seeks emergency block on enlistment of transgender troops


The Trump administration is seeking an emergency order to block transgender military enlistments after a judge denied the president’s order to phase out open-service by those troops.

On Wednesday, the administration asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., for an emergency order blocking transgender military enlistments, which are set to begin on Jan. 1. The filing asks for a decision on the request by Monday.

If granted, the order would allow the Pentagon to delay bringing new transgender troops into military service, which the president said he ended after “consultation with my Generals and military experts.”

Former President Obama’s administration ordered transgender people to be allowed to enlist beginning on July 1, 2017, but on June 30, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced he was postponing that order until January 1, 2018. In July 2017, the administration announced via Twitter plans to nix the acceptance of transgender people in the military.

According to President Donald J. Trump, transgender individuals should not serve “in any capacity in the U.S. Military” as the military needs to be “focused on decisive and overwhelming victory.” That focus is impeded by the “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender[s] in the military” entail.

In August, the president followed through on his tweet when he signed a presidential memo prohibiting the military from enlisting transgender people. It further blocked the military from using funds to pay for gender transition-related surgery. The memo gave Defense Secretary James Mattis six months to determine the fate of transgender troops currently serving.

A Washington, D.C., District Court Judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, slapped down President Trump’s transgender mandate last week, ruling that transgender people must be allowed to enlist in the military effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Prior to that, the same judge had issued a temporary block on the Trump administration’s ban, saying the government had offered no solid evidence that showed why the ban was necessary.

The plaintiffs in the case are two LGBTQ groups: the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). Both filed a lawsuit on behalf of five transgender service members in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that President Trump’s ban on transgender service members violates the Equal Protection portion of the Due Process clauses of the Fifth Amendment.

Plaintiffs in the case will oppose the emergency stay request filed by the Justice Department, said Shannon Minter, a lead attorney and legal director for National Center for Lesbian Rights.

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