A bipartisan group of lawmakers is banding together to codify the right of transgender people to serve in the military. The Congress members have proposed an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would make the open service standards of the Obama administration into federal law.
The House Rules Committee will decide on Monday and Tuesday which amendments will be allowed. A vote on the spending bill is expected later this week.
President Donald Trump has tried to ban transgender people from serving, but multiple courts have struck down the attempts. Preliminary injunctions from enforcing the ban have been entered in four separate court cases.
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington wrote that there is a “long and well-recognized” history of discrimination against transgender people, and, as such, any attempt by the government to discriminate against transgender people must serve a “compelling government interest” and be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal in her ruling.
She then noted that while Trump claimed to have consulted “generals and military experts” about the trans military ban last year, his lawyers couldn’t name a single general that he actually talked to. She also wrote that many of the people who should have been consulted about the ban were surprised by it when it was announced.
So Perchman wrote that the trans military ban was “devised by the President, and the President alone.”
The heads of every branch of the military has gone on the record now opposing the ban, but a report issued by the Department of Defense recently seemed to counter the military chief’s positions. Trump issued a “new” ban based off the report.
The White House said the policy will say “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
Despite Trump’s insistence, the military started allowing trans people to sign up on January 1 and has declined to discharge any currently serving service members.
Several sources have suggested Vice President Mike Pence and a handful of Christian hate group leaders are behind the ban.