ACLU Sues Trump Administration Over Transgender Military Ban

(Photo: Reuters/Emmanuel Braun)The U.S. Military will proceed its war games with South Korea this August amid threats from North Korea.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over the recent guidance banning transgender individuals from military service.

Filed Monday morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the national ACLU and its Maryland chapter are representing five current members of the Armed Forces.

"The Individual Plaintiffs and other transgender service members face immediate and irreparable harm as a result of the Transgender Service Member Ban," explained the lawsuit.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)People protest U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, in Times Square, in New York City, New York, U.S., July 26, 2017.

"Each Individual Plaintiff and other transgender service members suddenly face the reality that, despite their years of commitment and training, their careers will prematurely end and various benefits will be permanently unavailable."

Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement released Monday that there is no downside to allowing transgenders to serve openly in the military.

"Each and every claim made by the President Trump to justify this ban can be easily debunked by the conclusions drawn from the Department of Defense's own review process," stated Block.

"Allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly and providing them with necessary health care does nothing to harm military readiness or unit cohesion."

In late July, President Donald Trump posted a series of tweets stating that he was going to reverse the implementation of an Obama Administration policy to allow for transgender individuals to openly serve in the military.

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow ... Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," tweeted President Trump.

"[Our military] cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

Last Friday, Trump acted upon his controversial July tweets and issued formal guidance for the military regarding the transgender service ban.

In addition to the service ban, the memorandum for the guidance also stated that the military will "halt all use of DoD or DHS resources to fund sex reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel, except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex."

"As part of the implementation plan, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military," noted the memorandum.

"Until the Secretary has made that determination, no action may be taken against such individuals under the policy set forth in ... this memorandum."

Groups like the Family Research Council celebrated the decision, with FRC President Tony Perkins saying in a statement released Friday that "President Trump is doing what he promised: putting the military's focus where it belongs — fighting and winning wars."

"President Trump is listening to [the military's] concerns about distractions that hinder their mission — and now he is acting to address them," stated Perkins.

"The guidance released [Friday] reflects those conversations, and prioritizes military readiness while also showing respect for those who currently serve and identify as transgender"

This is not the first legal leveled at the Trump Administration over the transgender service member ban. Earlier this month, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders filed a lawsuit.

"The directive to reinstate a ban on open service by transgender people violates both the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution," said the earlier complaint, filed before Trump's official guidance was issued.

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