A Federal Judge Just Blocked Donald Trump's Transgender Military Ban

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It's more bad news for Donald Trump: The same his campaign advisor Paul Manefort was indicted, a federal court judge blocked the president's ban on transgender service people in the U.S. Armed Forces. She directed a return to the situation that existed before Trump announced his new policy this summer, saying the administration had provided no solid evidence for why a ban should be implemented.

In August, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced a freeze to the policy change, pending the results of a study by experts.

Mr Trump in July said he would ban transgender people from the military in a move that would reverse Democratic former president Barack Obama's policy and halt years of efforts to eliminate barriers to military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Trump administration may appeal Kollar-Kotelly's decision, but for now, the proposed ban remains unenforceable under Kollar-Kotelly's preliminary injunction. "They are now able to serve on equal terms with everyone else".

But the plaintiffs did not establish that they would by harmed by the ban on funds for gender reassignment surgery, Kollar-Kotelly ruled. The decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia means that people who are now in the military can not be discharged "just for being transgender", she says.

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GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD, issued a statement about the ruling in favor of plaintiffs from their organization and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

The Trump administration had asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit; Kollar-Kotelly refused to do so, and Minter said it's possible the case will go to trial.

"The court finds that a number of factors-including the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President's announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself - strongly suggest that Plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious", she wrote. "In all other respects, the Presidential Memorandum is not enjoined", the judge wrote in her 76-page decision.

Oral arguments are scheduled November 9 for the Baltimore lawsuit, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of six transgender service members.

Under his proposal, transgender recruits would be banned from the military, medical treatment funding for current transgender troops would be completely cut off, and Defense Secretary James Mattis would have power to expel transgender service members.

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