Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families, responded to a federal district court’s decision in the case of Doe v. Trump blocking President Trump’s transgender military ban. The judge states, “The effect of the Court’s Order is to revert to the status quo with regard to accession and retention that existed before the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum—that is, the retention and accession policies established in the June 30, 2016 Directive-type Memorandum as modified by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on June 30, 2017.” The full court order can be found here.
“This judge’s decision to block President Trump’s shameful transgender ban gives our military families hope that justice will ultimately prevail,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “More than a year ago, the Department of Defense assured transgender service members it was safe to come out, and it’s unconscionable that President Trump is now targeting them for discrimination. Any qualified American who is willing to serve should be allowed to do so.”
In June 2016, the Department of Defense told transgender members of the armed forces it was safe to come out and serve openly and authentically, and estimates show there are thousands of transgender individuals currently serving in the military. Implementation of the open service policy involved more than a year of planning.
Transgender service members had to wake up around the world to tweets from their new commander-in-chief shamefully declaring he was reversing the policy and transgender people would not be able to serve in “any capacity.” In August, President Trump directed Secretary Mattis to implement the ban and gave him until February 21, 2018, to develop a plan. Secretary Mattis indicated in a statement that “(t)he department will carry out the president’s policy direction.”
The far majority of Americans disagree with the president and believe transgender people should be allowed to serve. There has been clear bipartisan outrage over the President’s attack, including from fifty-six retired generals and admirals who warned that the ban would degrade military readiness.
AMPA is an organizational plaintiff in another lawsuit challenging Trump’s transgender military ban in court. Karnoski v. Trump is brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN on behalf of several transgender individuals, AMPA, the Human Rights Campaign, and Gender Justice League.