Federal Judge Rules Trump Administration Must Accept Transgender Military Recruits

Federal Judge Rules Trump Administration Must Accept Transgender Military Recruits

An Obama-era order says transgender servicemembers can not be removed from service based on their gender identity.

Not so, Kollar-Kotelly said in the order issued today.

Washington D.C.District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued the injunction in October ruling Trump's memo may not be enforced while a lawsuit by a group of transgender military members works its way through the courts. "That's the date when the military can no longer deny transgender people from enlisting".

In her ruling on Monday, the judge explicitly stated that the military was required to allow transgender recruits as of January 1, as stated in former President Obama's memorandum order.

"This is an important clarification because it means the military can't do an end run around the judge's decision", said Jennifer Levi, of the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) which is representing the soldiers, in an interview with NBC News.

A group of "Jane Doe" plaintiffs - unnamed transgender individuals who purportedly either wish to enlist in the military or are now in the military and wish to keep serving - filed a lawsuit to enjoin the enforcement of Trump's August 25 order. A Defense Department spokesperson could not immediately be reached.


Judge Kollar-Kotelly was appointed to the bench in 1997 by former President Bill Clinton.

U.S. President Donald Trump has lunch with troops at U.S. military installation Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, November 7.

The Trump administration has not yet announced whether it plans to appeal this ruling.

That judge, Marvin Garbis, said that a "capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy change".

In the ruling Monday Kollar-Kotelly clarified Mattis can't delay the date further and the military must continue to follow the Obama administration's transgender recruiting policies by January 1, 2018.

"I am directing the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the U.S. Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016 until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice would not have the negative effects discussed above". But opponents of Trump's ban can celebrate another win with Kollar-Kotelly's latest ruling allowing for the enlistment of transgender military servicepeople.

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