The Trump Administration must turn over materials on its decision to ban transgender people from military service, a federal judge has ruled.
Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite ruled Tuesday that materials related to the decision could show whether the ban was “for military purposes or whether it was purely for political and discriminatory purposes.”
The ruling stems from Stone v. Trump, an American Civil Liberties Union case on behalf of a dozen transgender service members and those wanting to enlist.
Last July, President Donald Trump Tweeted that transgender people would be barred from military service.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the LGBT & HIV Project at the ACLU, argued that President Trump banned trans people from service and then ordered the Department of Defense to justify a discriminatory decision after the fact.
“Today’s decision makes clear that the Trump Administration cannot continue to hide the true reasons behind its crusade to purge transgender people from the military,” Block said in a statement. “These brave men and women should be able to continue serving their country ably and honorably without being discriminated against by their own commander in chief.”
In his decision, Copperthite noted that transgender people had been admitted to the military during the Obama administration only after extensive study.
“The panel found no justifiable reason to deny transgender personnel the honor of military service,” he wrote. “It is hard for this Court to believe the circumstances regarding readiness and deployability have changed so dramatically since that time.”
Ultimately, he concluded, he agreed that president Tweeted out a policy and that “the panel was formed to justify and enforce that decision.”
Seven courts have already ruled against the transgender military ban.
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