WASHINGTON — A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against President Trump’s ban on “transgendered” persons in the military, finding that the five service members who sued over the ban had a likelihood of success in the lawsuit.
“[T]he presidential memorandum is causing Plaintiffs serious ongoing harms and will cause them further harms in the near future absent an injunction,” wrote U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, appointed to the bench by then-President Bill Clinton. “On this record, there are no countervailing equities or public interest in precluding transgender service members from the military that outweigh those harms.”
“On the record before the court, there is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects,” she asserted.
While Kollar-Kotelly blocked Trump’s ban from being enforced, she also declined to place a restraining order on the government ban on paying for “sex reassignment” surgeries.
“[N]o Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they are substantially likely to be impacted by the sex reassignment surgery directive, and none have standing to challenge that directive,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote as none of the plaintiffs had proven that they would not be able to obtain their desired operations before the prohibition took effect in March 2018.
As previously reported, Trump announced his decision to reinstate the ban on transgenders in the military in July, advising that the issue is a distraction and would place a burden on the finances of the Armed Forces.
“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 U.S. military,” he tweeted. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgenders in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Weeks later, five service members filed suit to challenge the ban, with the assistance of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders.
“Because they identified themselves as transgender in reliance on [the government’s] earlier promise [of lifting the ban], Plaintiffs have lost the stability and certainty they had in their careers and benefits, including post-military and retirement benefits that depend on the length of their service,” the lawsuit read.
Pro-family groups decried Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling on Monday, stating that it is another example of judicial activism.
“As a result of her temporary injunction, the entire military will ‘revert to the status quo,’ a dangerous environment where people like Chelsea (Bradley) Manning can serve openly, women can be forced to shower with biological men, and ‘pregnant males’ can apply for maternity leave,” wrote Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins.
“There was certainly enough support among the Defense Department, top brass, and service members themselves — who know better than anyone what the effects [of transgenders in the military] would be and have been. But unfortunately, this is where judicial activism is leading us,” he lamented.
Courthouse News Service reports that the U.S. Department of Defense could still issue a ban of its own despite the injunction.