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A federal court just ruled in favor of Trump’s transgender military ban

Transgender flag with silhouettes of soldiers
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A federal court ruled in favor of the Trump administration in one of the four cases being heard on it.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out a lower court decision in Doe v. Trump that barred the military from implementing the ban while the case is being heard.

The lower court ruled that because the transgender military ban likely violates the Constitution, it could not be implemented while the court decides whether it is unconstitutional.

In March of 2018, the Trump administration issued what they called a new transgender military ban, which they said replaced the previous transgender military ban announced in 2017.

The 2018 ban prohibited people diagnosed with gender dysphoria from serving in the military, an attempt to make the ban appear to be concerned with a medical condition instead of an identity.

Related: Interior Secretary’s veteran daughter eviscerates Trump’s transgender military ban

But District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly found that the new policy was essentially the same as the old one – the 2018 ban was just a means of implementing the 2017 ban – and she maintained an injunction against implementing it.

The appeals court, though, said that Kollar-Kotelly was wrong to say that the two policies were the same.

“It was clear error to say there was no significant change,” the three-judge panel ruled. This is because the 2018 ban “appears to permit some transgender individuals to serve in the military consistent with established military mental health, physical health, and sex-based standards.”

“Today’s decision is based on the absurd idea that forcing transgender people to suppress who they are in order to serve is not a ban,” said Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project.

“It ignores the reality of transgender people’s lives, with devastating consequences, and rests on a complete failure to understand who transgender people are. It is also destabilizing to the military to so dramatically reverse a policy that has been in place for over 2 years that senior military officials acknowledge has operated with no problems.”

The ruling doesn’t change anything for the moment – there are still three other courts that have issued injunctions against Trump’s transgender military ban. And the ruling did not say anything about the legal merit of the ban either.

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