Trump administration is withholding information for transgender military ban, judge says
A federal judge has said the Trump administration is withholding information from those suing it over the transgender military ban.
The President has previously wrote on Twitter that the ban has been thought through with military experts and generals to reduce healthcare costs for the military and improve morale.
However, the government has not disclosed details about who was consulted and what was said.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, said without this evidence, neither the government and trans military members who sued can get a ruling to resolve the case in their favour without a trial.
In a memo, Kollar-Kotelly wrote: “Defendants claim that their decisions regarding transgender military service are owed great deference because they are the product of extensive deliberation, study and review.
“However, at the same time, defendants have withheld information concerning this deliberation, study and review from plaintiffs.
“As a result, there undeniably are factual disputes in this case.”
Kollar-Kotelly added: “Defendants cannot prevent plaintiffs from obtaining the facts about a disputed issue and then expect to be granted summary judgment on that issue.”
The opinion came in a lawsuit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) on behalf of five unnamed service members and two recruits.
Trump first announced on Twitter in July 2017 his intention to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
President Trump tweeted: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, 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.
“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. Thank you.”
Rep. Joe Kennedy, who chairs the Transgender Equality Task Force in Congress, said at the time: “When our bravest men and women raise their hand and volunteer to defend our nation, they defend all of her people. Rich and poor, young and old, democrat and republican, gay and straight. Americans of all races, religions, ethnicities, gender identities.
“Our soldiers do not discriminate. They don’t offer to pay the ultimate sacrifice for some Americans and not for others. Their government owes them that same courtesy.”
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