Trump's Ban on Transgender Troops Blocked by Federal Judge Who Questions His Facts

U.S. President Donald Trump greets members of the military as he arrives at Raleigh County Memorial Airport in Beaver, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump greets members of the military as he arrives at Raleigh County Memorial Airport in Beaver, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

President Donald Trump's memorandum on banning transgender personnel from serving in the military has hit a roadblock after a federal judge partially blocked on Monday enforcement of some of its key provisions.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her opinion that the plaintiffs "have established that they will be injured by these directives, due both to the inherent inequality they impose, and the risk of discharge and denial of accession that they engender. "

Kollar-Kotelly further blasted Trump's initial announcement of plans to bar transgender people that he made on Twitter earlier this year, saying that it came "without any of the formality or deliberative processes that generally accompany the development and announcement of major policy changes that will gravely affect the lives of many Americans."

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The 76-page memo accompanying the ruling criticized a number of factors in Trump's memorandum, including "the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President's announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself — strongly suggest that Plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious."

Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said that the administration disagrees with the court's ruling, and is evaluating its next steps.

"Plaintiffs' lawsuit challenging military service requirements is premature for many reasons, including that the Defense Department is actively reviewing such service requirements, as the President ordered, and because none of the Plaintiffs have established that they will be impacted by current policies on military service," Ehrsam said.

Conservative groups, such as the Family Research Council, also criticized Monday's injunction.

FRC President Tony Perkins, a Marine veteran, said in a statement:

"This is where judicial activism is leading us. The courts have moved beyond legislating on the invented rights of abortion and same-sex marriage to clearly usurping the constitutional authority of the executive branch.

Perkins added: "The president has the primary task of protecting Americans but we see the courts weakening his immigration policies designed to protect America from threats and now telling the commander-in-chief how to run the military."

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of the plaintiffs in the case alongside GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, celebrated the development as a "complete victory," however.

"This is a complete victory for our plaintiffs and all transgender service members, who are now once again able to serve on equal terms and without the threat of being discharged," wrote Shannon Minter, NCLR's legal director.

"We are grateful to the court for recognizing the gravity of these issues and putting a stop to this dangerous policy, which has wreaked havoc in the lives of transgender service members and their families," Minter added.

Trump has argued on a number of occasions that a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, which he first announced in a series of tweets, would do the armed forces a "great favor."

Trump said in August that transgender personnel has been a "very complicated issue" for the military, and suggested that requirements for the government to pay for gender transitions could hurt both military readiness and military pocketbooks.

Still, the president insisted that he has "great respect" for the transgender community.

"I think I have support, or I've had great support, from that community. I got a lot of votes," he said at the time.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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