A federal judge on Tuesday blocked all
aspects of President Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving
in the U.S. military.
This is the second ruling against the
U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis
issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, saying that it
violates equal protection under the law.
“There is no doubt that the
directives in the president’s memorandum set apart transgender
service members to be treated differently from all other military
service members,” Garbis writo. “Defendants argue that deference
is owed to military personnel decisions and to the military’s
policymaking process. The court does not disagree. However, the court
takes note of the amici of retired military officers and former
national security officials, who state ‘this is not a case where
deference is warranted, in light of the absence of any considered
military policymaking process, and the sharp departure from decades
of precedent on the approach of the U.S. military to major personnel
Last month, U.S. District Judge Colleen
Kollar-Kotelly largely blocked the ban from taking effect. But she
left in place portions of the ban that call on the military to stop
paying for sex reassignment surgeries and prohibit transgender people
from enlisting in the military. The Department of Justice on Tuesday
appealed the ruling.
Garbis' ruling goes further, requiring
the U.S. military to pay for reassignment surgery and admit qualified
Trump tweeted the policy change in
July. Garbis made note of that, saying 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 changes.”
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU), ACLU of Maryland and Covington & Burling LLP are
representing six transgender service members in the lawsuit. Three
additional challenges to the ban have been filed.
Joshua Block, senior staff attorney
with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project, applauded the ruling.
“Today is a victory for transgender
service members across the country,” Block said in a statement.
“We’re pleased that the courts have stepped in to ensure that
trans service members are treated with the dignity and respect they