Trump bid to exclude trans troops shot down
Court orders return to policy brought in under Obama
WASHINGTON— A federal judge in Washington on Monday barred U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration from excluding transgender people from military service.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that transgender service members who had sued over Trump’s policy were likely to win their lawsuit. She directed a return to the situation that existed before Trump announced his new policy this summer.
Trump had ordered a return to the policy in place before June 2016, under which transgender individuals were barred from joining the military and service members could be discharged for being transgender. Under former president Barack Obama, that policy was changed to allow transgender service members.
The Trump administration may appeal Kollar-Kotelly’s decision, but for now, the proposed ban remains unenforceable.
“We are enormously relieved for our plaintiffs and other transgender service members,” said Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, an attorney handling the lawsuit.
“Their lives have been devastated since Trump first tweeted he was reinstating the ban,” Minter said. “They are now able to serve on equal terms with everyone else.”
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked about the ruling at the White House briefing, said it was something that had just been announced and said the Justice Department was reviewing it.