Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN announced today they have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s ban on military service by transgender individuals.
Via press release:
The lawsuit — brought in response to President Trump’s formal issuance of directions to military authorities late Friday — was filed on behalf of two individuals who seek to join the military; one current service member who seeks appointment as an officer; the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization; and Gender Justice League, a gender and sexuality civil and human rights organization, headquartered in Seattle.
“This ban not only wrongfully prevents patriotic, talented Americans from serving, it also compromises the safety and security of our country,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said. “Thousands of current service members are transgender, and many have been serving openly, courageously and successfully in the U.S. military for more than a year—not to mention the previous decades when many were forced to serve in silence. Once again attacking a vulnerable population based on bias, political opportunism and demonstrably untrue ‘alternative facts,’ President Trump is denying brave men and women the opportunity to serve our country without any legitimate justification whatsoever.”
“We promised that we would sue if the president took this action. The law is on our side; justice is on our side,” said Peter Perkowski, Legal Director for OutServe-SLDN. “And we are on the side of every single transgender service member and those who want to serve. The nation’s courts exist to protect the people whom tyrants would otherwise abuse. Trump can’t tweet his way out of this one.”
A second lawsuit was filed in federal court in Maryland by the American Civil Liberties Union and the D.C.-based law firm Covington & Burling LLP.
From the Washington Blade:
The plaintiffs in that lawsuit, Stone v. Trump, are five transgender troops currently in the military representing each of the military branches: Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Senior Airman John Doe, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert, and Marine Corps Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker.
Stone, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, has served in the U.S. Navy for nine years, including a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. According to the lawsuit, Stone was awarded an achievement medal for his deployment as well as multiple other commendations, including a flag letter of commendation and multiple recommendations for early promotion.
The ACLU lawsuit contends every component of Trump’s ban “singles out transgender service members for different treatment” amounting to sex discrimination, which is subject to, and fails, heightened scrutiny under the Fifth Amendment.