Civil Rights Organizations File Lawsuits Against Trump's Transgender Military Ban

Chris Mc Carthy MTV  Publicity

One complaint was filed in federal court in Seattle by Lambda Legal and the LGBT military group OutServe-SLDN.

Another was filed in Seattle by Lambda Legal, on behalf of a 12-year army veteran and two young transgender men who hope to enlist, along with Human Rights Campaign and the Gender Justice League.

Sarah McBride, who's transgender and serves as national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the US military "is stronger when any qualified American willing to defend our country is able to serve, regardless of their gender identity".

Both lawsuits highlight the records of transgender service members.

The second was filed in Maryland by the ACLU of Maryland on behalf of six transgender service members.

Researchers behind a 2016 Rand Corp. study estimated there were 2,450 active-duty transgender servicemembers and 1,510 in the reserves. That case is in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Stone has received numerous commendations for his service.

In doing so, the president reversed a policy introduced by his predecessor a year ago which said openly transgender individuals could serve in the military.

Trump first announced the ban through Twitter in late July. The ban on transgender service members makes our country less safe, our armed forces less diverse, and our LGBT community more isolated.

The two cases argue the ban, set into motion by President Trump in July, violates US constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process under the Fifth Amendment.

"The objective and effect of the Ban and current accessions bar are to chill constitutionally protected First Amendment activity", the lawsuit says.

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The official said Trump decided the Obama administration had not identified a sufficient basis for changing what was then long-standing policy on transgender troops.

"This is such an egregious action by the administration that is totally inconsistent with the DOD's own very well reasoned and researched policy from a year ago that concluded there would be no impact on costs", ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio told CBS News on Tuesday.

It continues, "The lawsuit argues that the ban discriminates based on sex and transgender status and that the ban is based on uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, moral disapproval, and a bare desire to harm this already vulnerable group".

While a White House official refused to specify on Friday whether or not there might be any case in which a transgender service member now in the military could remain in the service, the White House says the Pentagon will decide a best "implementation plan" to address the situation by a deadline of March 23, 2018.

"The Trump administration has provided no evidence that this pronouncement wasbased on any analysis of the actual cost and disruption allegedly caused by allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly", according to the complaint.

"He has chose to use the service of men and women who are transgender as a political football, and the cruelty of that decision and policy is hard to understate", said David Rocah, with the ACLU. "And we are on the side of every single transgender service member and those who want to serve".

The order requires Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to determine in the coming months how to handle transgender individuals now serving in the military using criteria including "military effectiveness and lethality", budget constraints and law.

The ACLU included screenshots of those tweets in its lawsuit.

Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, a Pentagon spokesperson, confirmed the Defense Department is aware of the lawsuits, but declined further comment. "The most they can choose are the individual destinies of right now serving transgender faculty, whose nearness will be conflicting with new military strategy".

Lawyers from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders also filed a lawsuit against the ban earlier this month along with a team from Wilmer Pickering Hale & Dorr.

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