A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender service members. The judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the ban was based on disapproval of transgender people generally. The ban was supposed to take effect in March 2018, but the judge ruled that the military’s current policy should remain in place, The New York Times reports.
“There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects,” the judge wrote in a 76-page ruling.
This is the first court order following challenges to Trump’s ban and can be appealed. Plantiffs in the case are transgender troops some with decades or meritorious service. The court found that Trump’s ban likely means they had their rights to due process violated, USA Today reports. The ruling stops a plan to discharge all transgender troops and allows current transgender troops to enlist again, but it also allows transgender recruits to join the military from January 2018.
“She basically wiped the slate clean,” Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said of Kollar-Kotelly.
He added that he was confident that the ruling effectively marked the end of the ban, eve though it can be appealed, because the judge said it violated the Constitution. The reaction from the Justice Department was completely opposite. Its spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam called the lawsuit premature because the Pentagon was studying the issue of service by transgender recruits.
“We disagree with the court’s ruling and are currently evaluating the next steps,” Ehrsam said.
Last year Pentagon repealed its ban on service by transgender people, but Trump tweeted this summer that there was no place in the military for transgender recruits.