Judge temporarily stops Trump policies on transgender service members

US Army Soldiers

US Army Soldiers

A second federal judge on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump from banning transgender people from serving in the USA military, ruling that the prohibition likely amounted to unconstitutional discrimination.

Mr Trump in July sent out three tweets decreeing that transgender troops could not serve "in any capacity", citing "tremendous" medical costs and disruption.

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Garbis has ordered USA military heads not to enforce policies and directives of Trump regarding military eligibility of transgender service members and related sex-reassignment medical procedures.

U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis of Baltimore is the second judge to issue an injunction blocking the ban, report the Washington Post, the Washington Times and Reuters.

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Garbis ruled that transgender military members are already being harmed by the ban, even though it has yet to go into full effect. But Garbis and Kollar-Kotelly's rulings have now returned the situation to what it was before Trump's July tweets, with the policy returned, at least temporarily, to that set by the Obama administration a year ago, with current troops able to serve openly and receive all medically necessary care, and enlistment of new ones to begin July 1.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Defense had announced in 2016 that service members could not be discharged exclusively based on their gender identity. "Plaintiffs' lawsuit challenging military service requirements is premature for many reasons, including that the Defense Department is actively reviewing such service requirements, as the president ordered, and because none of the plaintiffs have established that they will be impacted by current policies on military service", Ehrsam said. By August the directive had materialized in the form of a memo aimed at prohibiting new transgender recruits from enlisting in the military and banning the use of federal funds to pay for gender reassignment surgery. But Garbis found that "Trump's tweets did not emerge from a policy review", according to the opinion that featured images of the president's July tweets. "The lack of any justification for the abrupt policy change, combined with the discriminatory impact to a group of our military service members who have served our country capably and honourably, can not possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest", he wrote in his ruling.

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Garbis found that the proposed ban would negatively impact plaintiffs in the Maryland case who are actively trying to schedule transition-related surgical care and will not be able to receive surgery before the policy's March start date. Eighteen other countries allow transgender troops to serve.

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