Wednesday, August 9, 2017

LGBT Advocates Sue Trump Administration Over Proposed Trans Military Ban


Even though Donald Trump's nascent ban on transgender military service members isn't in place yet, two LGBTQ advocacy groups have filed a law suit to enjoin enforcement of the ban.

From the Washington Blade's Chris Johnson:

The 15-page complaint was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders on behalf of five anonymous transgender service members identified as “Jane Doe.”

Although the Pentagon has said there would be “no modifications” to transgender service until further guidance from the White House, the lawsuit — known as Doe v. Trump — maintains Trump’s announcement “upset the reasonable expectations of plaintiffs and thousands of other transgender service members and the men and women with whom they serve and fight.”

“Execution of the president’s directive will result in an end to service by openly transgender service members and has already resulted in immediate, concrete injury to plaintiffs by unsettling and destabilizing plaintiffs’ reasonable expectation of continued service,” the lawsuit says.

This undermining of transgender service members’ expectation of continued military service amounts to a violation of the right to equal protection and due process under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the lawsuit alleges.

Also violated by the intent to ban transgender people from the U.S. armed forces, the complaint says, is the legal doctrine of estoppel — a legal doctrine against making assertions contradictory to a previously held position. Trump’s transgender military ban violates estoppel, the lawsuit says, because the Obama administration assured transgender people the ability to serve last year by lifting the medical regulation barring their service.

The lawsuit names as defendants President Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, the secretaries for each of the military services and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, who oversees the U.S. Coast Guard.

Johnson notes in his article that Outserve-SLDN, the LGBT military group, also plans to file suit once an actual policy change is announced.

Experts put the cost of the ban in the neighborhood of $960 million.

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