A federal judge has shut down the latest version of President Trump’s ban on transgender troops, stating “The court is not persuaded.”
Trump first announced that transgender Americans would be barred from serving in the military “in any capacity” last July. After multiple court injunctions stopped his ban from being enacted, a revised version was announced in March.
According to the new policy, transgender people “with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” and those requiring medication, surgery or other treatment are disqualified from military service “except under certain limited circumstances.” Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed suit to attack the new ban on behalf of nine transgender plaintiffs.
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman claimed the updated guidelines weren’t much different and denied the Justice Department’s request to throw the case out.
“Requiring transgender people to serve in their ’biological sex’ does not constitute ’open’ service in any meaningful way, and cannot reasonably be considered an ’exception’ to the ban,” Pechman wrote. “Rather, it would force transgender service members to suppress the very characteristic that defines them as transgender in the first place.”
Pechman added that because transgender people have long suffered from discrimination “unrelated to their ability to perform and contribute to society,” they should be considered a protected group. The government must show that the new policy “was sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype.”
But that doesn’t mean the fight is over. The case now moves to trial, where the constitutionality of the ban will be debated.
In a tweet, Sharon McGowan, director of strategy for Lambda Legal, said Pechman’s ruling “cut through the nonsense.” She is optimistic the Trump administration will once more be shut down.
Judge Pechman cut through the nonsense and realized that there was no “new ban” – just the same ole ban w/ some new packaging. Trans discrimination triggers strict scrutiny. Full stop. DOJ gets one last chance to defend policy but make no mistake – this ban is going DOWN! https://t.co/YaevJXouof
— Sharon_McGowan (@SharonMcGowanDC) April 14, 2018