A federal court has ruled that the U.S. military must begin accepting transgender service members by January 1. On Monday, the court issued a clarification to the preliminary injunction that the court imposed on President Donald Trump’s transgender policy.
Last month, a judge on the U.S. District Court ruled that the president’s order to ban new transgender recruits from joining the military — as well as potentially expelling current members — cannot be enforced while the case is being reviewed in court.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote that her injunction means that the military must continue to follow the policies established by former President Barack Obama‘s “June 30, 2016 Directive-type Memorandum,” which allowed transgender individuals to enlist beginning on January 1.
“Any action by any of the Defendants that changes this status quo is preliminarily enjoined,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote in the Monday memo.
In August, the judge released a lengthy memo accompanying her ruling in which she said the plaintiffs in the case, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, are likely to succeed by arguing that the president’s transgender ban violates their Fifth Amendment right to due process. The two groups sued in August on behalf of six unnamed service members and two recruits.
“The court finds that a number of factors—including the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself — strongly suggest that Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious,” she wrote last month.
The government asked the judge if it could push back the January 1 date but was denied. The six original plaintiffs in the case claimed that their rights to due process were violated. The judge also stated that the government offered no solid evidence on why the ban was necessary.
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