ACLU files lawsuit challenging Trump's transgender military ban

Following Lambda Legal's suit, the national arm of the ACLU, along with Covington & Burling LLP filed their own lawsuit against the administration, on behalf of the ACLU of Maryland and six transgender current members of military.

In contrast, Trump announced on Twitter he'd ban transgender people from the military after an apparent lack of consultation with military leaders.

On Friday Mr Trump instructed the Pentagon to impose an indefinite ban on transgender individuals joining the services, although the position of those now serving was left open.

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. "At a time when transgender people are facing alarming rates of discrimination, violence and lack of access to housing and medical care, this blatantly discriminatory ban is a slap in the face to our members".

"The Trump organization has given no confirmation that this declaration depended on an investigation of the genuine cost and interruption professedly caused by permitting men and ladies who are transgender to serve transparently", ACLU attorneys said.

The Department of Defense announced in 2016 that transgender individuals could openly serve in the military with equal rights and without fear of retribution, after conducting a yearlong study on the issue.

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Civil liberties groups are taking President Trump to court over his reversal of an Obama-era directive, officially banning transgender military members from serving in the armed forces. Trump's transgender ban policy faces intense opposition from top Republican senators, dozens of retired generals and admirals and advocacy groups.

Between 4,000 and 10,000 U.S. active-duty and reserve service members are believed to be transgender. It argues that the ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, as well as due process and free speech.

On Monday, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed a federal lawsuit in Seattle on behalf of two transgender individuals who want to enlist and one who already is serving.

According to a Rand Corp study issued a year ago, there would be "minimal" effect on readiness, with only 10 to 130 active-duty members having reduced deployability because of gender transition-related treatments, the ACLU's suit says.

Trump is formalizing orders, preventing so-called transgenders from joining the USA military. "We are proud to be a plaintiff on behalf of our transgender members now serving or wishing to enlist or commission, but who find their careers and their future under attack - and we thank all of the plaintiffs, Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN for their leadership in challenging this risky directive".

Lawyers from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders also filed a lawsuit against the ban earlier this month along with a team from Wilmer Pickering Hale & Dorr. The new suit by the ACLU adds significant resources to the fight as the organization has seen its membership swell since Trump's election.

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