The U.S. Justice Department announced Friday night that it will not fight the rulings of four federal courts against Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender military service members.
“The Department of Defense has announced that it will be releasing an independent study of these issues in the coming weeks,” the DOJ official said. “So rather than litigate this interim appeal before that occurs, the administration has decided to wait for DOD’s study and will continue to defend the president’s and secretary of defense’s lawful authority in district court in the meantime.”
The Justice Department on Friday withdrew its appeals of three court rulings against Trump’s transgender military ban — one from a federal court in D.C., another from a federal court in Maryland and another from a federal court in Washington State. A federal court in California also ruled against Trump’s trans ban, but the Justice Department had yet to appeal that decision.
In July, Trump announced via Twitter he would ban transgender people from the armed forces “in any capacity,” following up with a directive making good on that promise. As a result of litigation from LGBT legal groups, court enjoined the Pentagon from enforcing that directive. The Justice Department sought a stay on those decisions, but only as it pertained to allowing openly transgender people to enlist in the armed forces.
This means transgender Americans who want to serve their country will be able to enlist beginning January 1.
“This is a major victory in the litigation and great news for transgender troops, transgender military academy and ROTC students, and transgender people who have been waiting to enlist,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center For Lesbian Rights. “There is no reason to exclude transgender people from military service, especially when they have already proved their ability to serve. Transgender people are part of this country, and their willingness to take on the hardships and sacrifices of military service should be honored, not banned.”