President Donald Trump’s proposed plan to ban transgendered individuals from serving in the military has resulted in another lawsuit filed against the chief executive.
The latest suit, filed Tuesday in federal court in California, alleges that the exclusion of transgendered people from the military is asking the court to declare the proposed ban unconstitutional.
According to the suit, filed by transgendered individuals who “have taken steps to enlist in the military” as well as openly transgender active servicemembers and civil-rights organization Equality California, the Department of Defense announced that it would reverse its ban on transgendered people in the military in June 2016, following an exhaustive multi-year review.”
“Since that announcement, and in reliance thereon, hundreds of American servicemembers followed protocol and informed their chain of command that they are transgender. These transgender servicemembers have continued to serve without incident. In addition, as a consequence of the DOD’s announced policy, after years of unlawful exclusion, openly transgender persons have believed for the first time that it is possible for them to serve their country in the Armed Forces,” the suit reads.
However, that began to change this year, with Trump’s July 26 tweets stating that the U.S. military would return to the ban, and an August 25 formalization of the policy, in which he directed the Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security to reinstate the ban.
“The August 25 Directive inflicts serious injuries upon Plaintiffs and Plaintiff EQCA’s members. First, the August 25 Directive expressly forecloses transgender people from acceding into military service. Second, the August 25 Directive causes immediate and concrete injury to the current servicemember Plaintiffs, each of whom came out as transgender to their chain of command in reliance on the June 2016 Policy lifting the prior ban,” the lawsuit reads. “Specifically, the current servicemember Plaintiffs will be subject to involuntary separation beginning March 23, 2018, suspending their reasonable expectation of continued service. Third, the August 25 Directive denies the current servicemember Plaintiffs equal access to full medical care.”
Along with an order finding the ban unconstitutional, the suit is seeking unspecified damages.
In late August, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that it had filed its own suit against Trump and others in relation to the proposed ban.
“The ban violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment,” the lawsuit states. The ACLU also contends that “the ban discriminates based on sex and transgender status and that the ban is based on uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, moral disapproval, and a bare desire to harm this already vulnerable group.”
“Each and every claim made by the President Trump to justify this ban can be easily debunked by the conclusions drawn from the Department of Defense’s own review process,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project. “Allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly and providing them with necessary health care does nothing to harm military readiness or unit cohesion. Men and women who are transgender with the courage and capacity to serve deserve more from their commander-in-chief.”