U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly today denied the Trump administration’s motion to dismiss NCLR and GLAD’s case Doe v. Trump, the first lawsuit filed challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban and the first to secure a preliminary injunction stopping the ban from going into effect while the case is heard by the court. Judge Kollar-Kotelly also denied the Trump administration’s motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction, which would have jeopardized the careers of nearly all of the thousands of currently serving transgender troops and allowed the Trump administration to begin implementing the ban. Judge Kollar-Kotelly has not yet ruled on plantiffs’ motion for summary judgment, which would resolve the case by issuing a final judgment declaring that the ban is unconstitutional and cannot be implemented.
In Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s order, she emphasized the importance of transgender military service with regard to military readiness, “It should not be forgotten that the United States military remains engaged in numerous armed conflicts throughout the world, and service members are still being injured and killed in those conflicts. The public interest and equities lie with allowing young men and women who are qualified and willing to serve our Nation to do so.” Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s also affirmed the transgender community’s capability to serve, noting, “the Mattis Implementation Plan still accomplishes an extremely broad prohibition on military service by transgender individuals that appears to be divorced from any transgender individual’s actual ability to serve. In the absence of the challenged policy, transgender individuals are subject to all of the same standards and requirements for accession and retention as any other service member. The Mattis Implementation Plan establishes a special additional exclusionary rule that precludes individuals who would otherwise satisfy the demanding standards applicable to all service members simply because they have certain traits that are associated with being transgender.”
“The Trump administration’s arguments to dismiss our lawsuit and move forward with the trans military ban are full of sweeping generalizations and false stereotypes about transgender people. It’s clear Judge Kollar-Kotelly isn’t buying it—and neither should anyone else,” said Jennifer Levi, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Transgender Rights Project Director. “Anyone who meets the standards should be able to serve. There is no reason to subject transgender people to unconstitutional and discriminatory treatment, unlike the way the military treats any other group.”