Five US Military Members Have Sued Trump Over His Proposed Transgender Ban

PoliticsLambda Legal and an LGBTQ Military Group Are Suing Trump Over His Transgender Ban Written by Daniel Villarreal

A Western New England University law professor has signed on to a federal lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's recent directive to ban transgender individuals from serving in the US military.

Trump notoriously tweeted on July 26 that after speaking with generals, he chose to no longer allow transgender people "to serve in any capacity", a reversal of existing policy.

"The president as commander in chief is within his authority to determine best practices and common sense policy for the military", said Mathew Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal aid group. LGBT rights advocates have pointed to studies that have reached opposite conclusions.

Five transgender members of the U.S. military, including Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, sued President Donald Trump on Wednesday, challenging his ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

The service members suing the president are three US Army soldiers, one US Air Force airman and one member of the US Coast Guard who are on active duty.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a spokesperson for the White House, told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, "As has been said before, we will work with the Department of Defense to lawfully implement the policy".

There was considerable political pushback after Trump issued the tweets announcing his plan to ban transgender service members.

'As our nation faces serious national security threats, our troops shouldn't be forced to endure hours of transgender "sensitivity" classes and politically-correct distractions like this one, ' Marine veteran and President of the group Tony Perkins said in a statement. "These servicemembers, like many others, have built their lives around their military service".

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In a statement, one of the plaintiffs said they were anxious about what would happen to their family if the ban went into effect.

Trump's directive was criticized by 56 retired US generals and admirals last week, who argued that the ban "would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops". They also argue Trump's ban could mean their contracts are terminated or not renewed, and this would be unconstitutional.

But the service members say the Obama-era policy created an expectation they relied on, including informing their commanding officers they are transgender and undergoing medical treatment related to gender transition.

On Wednesday, The Palm Center, a think tank that advocates for LGBT members in the military, estimated it would cost $960 million to replace the 12,800 transgender members now serving. It contends that the ban violates both the equal protection and due process provisions of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The White House has not revealed any details on how the ban would be implemented.

Trump, in a series of tweets on July 26, announced that he planned to end that policy. "In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect".

Their letter concluded by stating that the transgender ban would help preserve "military effectiveness, morale and social cohesion".

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