U.S. court rules for Trump on transgender military limits

Drew Angerer  Getty Images North America

Drew Angerer Getty Images North America

Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver said, "The decision to overturn the ban on "transgender" people in the military is a victory for our servicemembers who can not serve and protect America when they are forced to function with confusion, dysfunction, and distraction".

The ban currently remains in place, however, because each of the other two district courts' injunctions remain in place for now. The court stated that Mattis" plan was not "foreordained' by Trump because it took into account a panel of military and medical experts, evidence from the implementation of the open service policy, and "a reassessment of the priorities of the group that produced' the open service policy", reported Liberty Counsel.

Prior to his resignation, Defense Secretary James Mattis said he is "prepared to defend" the ban, concluding that troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria carry "impacts of healthcare costs, readiness, and unit cohesion", and as such present "considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality". "Acting Secretary [Pat] Shanahan should confirm what the chiefs have already stated: inclusive policy is a success and transgender servicemembers continue to be a welcome and successful part of the US military".

The order might also not be the D.C. Circuit's final word on the transgender military ban.

Although a financial analysis determined that the Trump policy would save $8.4 million annually by breaking from the Obama-era approach of paying for service-people to have gender-reassignment operations, the judges said reversing the Obama protocol-which was first implemented in 2016-would be far too disruptive. The new policy generally bars transgender individuals from serving or enlisting unless they serve "in their biological sex" and "do not seek to undergo gender transition".

"There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all", District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled.

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The lawsuit in the District of Columbia was filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. "It is also destabilizing to the military to so dramatically reverse a policy that has been in place for over 2 years that senior military officials acknowledge has operated with no problems".

The D.C. Circuit issues the order less than a month after hearing oral arguments on whether to dissolve Kollar-Kotelly injunction against the transgender military ban.

"It was clear error to say there was no significant change", the judges wrote in the ruling.

As one Supreme Court filing in these cases explains, "The vast majority of Americans from ages 17 to 24 - that is, 71% - are ineligible to join the military without a waiver for mental, medical, or behavioral reasons".

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on 26 December 2018.

"It does not directly affect the government's motion for stays of the injunctions in Karnoski and Stockman, though it certainly raises the stakes of that request, since the injunction in Doe has now been dissolved by the D.C. Circuit", Minter added.

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