Prizm News / January 22, 2019 / By Bob Vitale

Supreme Court ruling means Trump administration can stop trans Americans from serving while court challenges move forward.



By Bob Vitale

LBGTQ organizations are vowing to keep up the fight, but a 5-4 ruling today from the U.S. Supreme Court means the Trump administration can begin kicking transgender Americans out of the military and denying others the opportunity to serve their country. 

The ruling by the court’s five conservative members—Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas—allows Trump’s ban to go into effect while court challenges continue. The justices overturned temporary stays on the order by lower courts. 

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“For more than 30 months, transgender troops have been serving our country openly with valor and distinction, but now the rug has been ripped out from under them, once again,” Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn said. “We will redouble our efforts to send this discriminatory ban to the trash heap of history where it belongs.”

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, which represents LGBTQ members of the U.S. military, went to court soon on behalf of nine service members soon after Trump proposed ending the military service of openly transgender Americans in July 2017. 

President Barack Obama lifted a longstanding ban on transgender service in 2016. 

“For the past 2½ years, thousands of qualified transgender individuals have made our nation’s armed forces better, in every measurable quality, with their authentic service,” OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Andy Blevins said.  

The Human Rights Campaign is a plaintiff in the lawsuit as well. 

“Allowing Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s transgender troop ban to go into effect harms both transgender service members and our national security,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride. “As this critical matter makes its way through the courts, brave transgender patriots deserve to have their constitutional rights protected. Today’s decision thrusts this administration’s discriminatory agenda onto a military that clearly doesn’t want it and does so at the expense of transgender people’s careers and service.” 

The Williams Institute estimated that there are more than 163,000 transgender veterans of the U.S military, but its last estimate of active-duty personnel who are trans dates from before the ban was lifted in 2016. 

Count on it,” Lambda Legal said today. “We, along with Outserve – SLDN, are redoubling our efforts to reject this ban for good. … We’re not backing down.” 

“To our transgender siblings-in-arms, veterans, and hopeful recruits: This battle is not yet over,” OutServe-SLDN added. “You will not be left behind or forgotten.” 


bobvitale@prizmnews.com

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.