WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is seeking a hold on a court order that mandated the government to allow those who identify as the opposite sex to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1.
“Specifically, Defendants request that the court stay the portion of its preliminary injunction requiring Defendants to begin accessing transgender individuals into the military on January 1, 2018, pending a decision by the D.C. Circuit on Defendants’ appeal,” the U.S. Department of Justice wrote on Wednesday, according to The Hill.
The Trump administration says that the U.S. Armed Forces is not ready to accommodate “transgendered” persons in less than a month, and would like the order to be stayed while it appeals the ruling.
“Given the complex and multidisciplinary nature of the medical standards that need to be issued and the tens of thousands of geographically dispersed individuals that need to be trained, the military will not be adequately prepared to begin processing transgender applicants for military service by January 1, 2018, and requiring the military to do so may negatively impact military readiness,” the motion read.
The Trump administration is requesting a decision by Monday.
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.
Kollar-Kotelly issued an injunction in favor of the complainants in October, writing in part, “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.”
After the government sought clarification on whether or not her order “prohibit[s] the secretary of defense from exercising his discretion to defer the January 1, 2018 effective date,” Kollar-Kotelly advised that there could be no postponement.
The U.S. Department of Justice says that it does not make sense to implement a policy that is currently under review.
“Compelling the military to implement a new accessions policy while it is simultaneously completing a comprehensive study of military service by transgender individuals that may soon result in the adoption of different accessions standards would waste significant military resources and sow unnecessary confusion among service members and applicants,” Wednesday’s motion reads.
The Pentagon told reporters this week that is “taking steps to be prepared to initiate accessions of transgender applicants” in light of the recent order, while also discussing legal options with the Department of Justice.