A US federal court in Washington on Monday blocked President Donald Trump’s administration from enforcing his ban on transgender people serving in the American military.
A group of transgender service members last month asked the court to block the planned ban while it considers their claims that it violates their U.S. constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said the plaintiffs were entitled to an injunction halting enforcement of the ban until their case is resolved.
On July 27, President Trump said he would ban transgender people from the US military, a move appealing to some in his conservative political base but creating uncertainty about the fate of thousands of transgender service members.
The surprise announcement by Trump, who as a presidential candidate last year vowed to fight for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, came in a series of morning Twitter posts. It drew condemnation from rights groups and some lawmakers in both parties as politically motivated discrimination but was praised by conservative activists and some Republicans.
A transgender ban would reverse Democratic former President Barack Obama’s policy and halts years of efforts to eliminate barriers to military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“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 US Military,” Trump tweeted, without naming any of the generals or experts.
“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,” he said.