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ACLU Files Motion to Stop Transgender Troops Ban

The American Civil Liberties Union petitioned a federal court Thursday to immediately block President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. armed services.

The group field a motion requesting a preliminary injunction against the ban until a final ruling is made in the case.

“Men and women who are transgender should be allowed to serve their country rather than being exposed to this level of uncertainty and harm,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project.

Block said the group believes the courts will ultimately come to the conclusion that the ban is unconstitutional.

“We’re confident that the courts will eventually strike down this unconstitutional ban. So we’re demanding a court order to prevent this shameful policy from ever being implemented,” he said.

Trump announced via Twitter on July 26 his decision to overturn an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the military and required the federal government to pay for the medical costs of reassignment surgeries.

“Please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted in July.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” he said in two additional tweets.

Trump issued a memo on Aug. 25 prohibiting transgender individuals from enlisting in the military and using government funds to pay for gender-alteration surgery.

The memo gave Secretary of Defense James Mattis an additional six months to determine whether transgender soldiers already in the armed forces would be allowed to continue serving.

Mattis said he would impanel experts from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to “provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction.”

But the ACLU, filing a lawsuit on behalf of six transgender troops, argued that while the case is in court, “a preliminary injunction is needed to ensure that irreparable harm is not done to military personnel and potential enlistees who are transgender.”

“Without a preliminary injunction to preserve the status quo, plaintiffs’ health and careers — and the health and careers of thousands of other transgender service members and qualified individuals who wish to serve — will be irreparably harmed,” its motion said.

“The transgender service member ban is unconstitutional and invalid on its face, and the court should enter a preliminary injunction prohibiting Defendants from implementing or enforcing it,” it the ACLU added.