Federal judge blocks ban on sex reassignment surgeries for service members

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A federal court today granted the American Civil Liberties Union's request for a complete halt to implementation of the president's directive banning transgender service members from serving in the military while the ACLU's lawsuit challenging it moves forward.

It went further than the ruling by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, in October, that said the policy had to revert back while the challenge to the policy change worked its way through the courts, by also ruling against blocking funding for gender confirmation surgery.

Saying the ban "cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest", U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis in Baltimore issued an injunction against Trump's order that recruitment of transgender military members stop in March.

The Trump trans military ban issued via Twitter in July 2017 was always based on flimsy reasoning: The U.S. President consulted no now serving military officials about it and lied about the military not being able to absorb the cost of trans healthcare (even though the military spends five times more money on Viagra).

But in a strongly-worded passage from his 53-page decision, Garbis wrote that the "capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy change".

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"A surprising declaration by the President and president of the United States through Twitter that "the United States Government won't acknowledge or enable transgender people to serve in any way in the U.S. military" surely can be viewed as stunning the situation being what it is", Garbis composed, in the wake of installing screen shots of the tweets pages prior. In a court filing on Tuesday, the government said it would appeal Kollar-Kotelly's ruling.

The preliminary injunction prohibits the president's policies until the lawsuit is resolved.

Trump sent an August memo directing the Pentagon to extend indefinitely a ban on transgender individuals joining the military, and gave Defence Secretary Jim Mattis six months to come up with a policy on "how to address" those who are now serving. Transgender service members have continued to serve in the meantime.

The Justice Department tried, and failed, to have the case thrown out.

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