Federal judge: Military must accept transgender troops starting January 1

Trump transgender military ban

A federal judge on Monday issued a clarification on her prior ruling that the U.S. military must accept transgender service members by January 1, after partially blocking President Trump’s transgender policy in an earlier ruling.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had previously ordered back in October that President Donald Trump’s transgender ban in the military be suspended, wrote in her injunction that the military must continue to follow the policies established by former President Barack Obama

“Any action by any of the Defendants that changes this status quo is preliminarily enjoined,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote in the clarifying memo.

The original injunction, and today’s memo, came after Trump issued an executive order in August requiring the military to stop enlisting transgender people and using funds to pay for any medical procedures related to gender transition.

Another federal judge in Maryland has already granted a similar injunction against the medical procedure ban.

Kollar-Kotelly’s original ruling for the plaintiffs in the case, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and LGBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, determined that they would likely succeed in their suit by arguing that Trump’s transgender ban violates their Fifth Amendment right to due process.

“The court finds that a number of factors—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.”

The administration will continue exhausting all possible appeals in the hope that higher courts may lift either of the injunctions, which were set to begin on March 1st, 2018.