White House sued by ACLU over transgender soldiers ban

The case was filed on behalf of six serving transgender members of the armed forces.

On Friday, Trump signed a memo implementing the change in policy, which halts transgender people from enlisting.

Last month, after Trump signaled, in a Twitter post, his intention to ban transgendered people, Soto released a statement that included, "There are over 15,000 transgender military service men and women now risking their lives every day protecting our country".

What Lambda Legal says: "President Trump is denying courageous men and women the opportunity to serve our country without any legitimate justification whatsoever", Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said in a statement.

"He has chose to use the service of men and women who are transgender as a political football, and the cruelty of that decision and policy is hard to understate", said David Rocah, with the ACLU.

The memo delivered to Secretary of Defense James Mattis instructed the Pentagon to return to the June 2016 policy that prevented the recruitment of transgender people into the armed forces and to stop the use of Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security funds to provide "sex reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel".

House Democrats are calling on President Donald Trump to reverse his transgender military ban, arguing the policy is "detrimental to our national security, ill-advised, and contrary to the values upon which our nation was built".

"President Trump also never spoke to a single transgender person regarding the potential impact of his proposed ban before deciding to institute it", court documents say.

The federal lawsuit, Stone v. Trump, was filed in Maryland on Monday by the ACLU of Maryland on behalf of Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, an 11-year Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, and several other transgender members of the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines.

"President Trump cast aside the rigorous, evidence-based policy of the Open Service Directive, and replaced it with discredited myths and stereotypes, uninformed speculation, and animus against people who are transgender", the ACLU lawsuit reads.

Trump is also shutting down the use of U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security money for so-called sexual reassignment surgery for now serving military personnel.

"This is such an egregious action by the administration that is totally inconsistent with the DOD's own very well reasoned and researched policy from previous year that concluded there would be no impact on costs", ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio told CBS News on Tuesday.

And five other transgender service members sued the administration in early August, before the specifics of the ban were laid out.

In Washington state, Lambda Legal filed the second lawsuit Monday, which goes a step further and argues the transgender ban violates the First Amendment rights of transgender troops by keeping them from "expressing and conducting themselves consistently with their gender".

"The Department of Defense is aware of the lawsuit filed today challenging the President's decision regarding military service by transgender individuals", Haverstick said.

  • Joey Payne