Trump sued over transgender military ban

The suit further claims that the federal government cannot legally take away rights already granted to transgender service members.
By Tobi Gerdes | Aug 11, 2017
President Trump got hit with a federal lawsuit Wednesday over his announcement on Twitter last month of a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. armed forces.

To date, the military has not implemented the ban, saying a presidential tweet does not amount to formal guidance on the issue.

Two advocacy groups the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of five transgender members of the military, according to the Los Angeles Times. They allege Trump's ban would violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights.

The complaint alleges that the exclusion of transgender people from military service based on their sex and transgender status violates the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment because it lacks any rational basis and is too arbitrary. It also says the ban would violate the due process rights of transgender troops by depriving them of property and liberty interests based solely on their gender identity.

The suit further claims that the federal government cannot legally take away rights already granted to transgender service members.

When the Pentagon ended its ban on openly transgender service in 2016, many troops relied on that policy and came out as transgender. For the military to reverse the policy now would amount to punishing those who informed their commanding officers that they are transgender.

"Trump's attempts to reinstate a ban have blindsided thousands of transgender service members who are now scrambling to determine what this means for their families and their futures," said NCLR legal director Shannon Minter, in a report by Slate. "We are appalled by the president's callous mistreatment of transgender soldiers, and we want to send a message loud and clear that we will aggressively challenge any attempt to harm them."

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