( WASHINGTON, D.C., December 8, 2017 )Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders ( GLAD ) filed their opposition to yesterday's Trump administration request for a partial stay in Doe v. Trump, the first legal challenge filed against Trump's transgender military ban. If granted, the stay would permit the Trump administration to once again delay accepting transgender recruits, which it has been ordered to do starting on January 1, 2018. Today's NCLR and GLAD filing debunks Trump administration claims that the military is not ready to accept transgender recruits on January 1, citing a Palm Center policy report calling out the Trump administration for filing a court document that "rewrites the history of transgender military policy and distorts the evidence."
"Trump administration claims that our highly sophisticated and capable military is unprepared to implement a minor policy change after years of preparation are simply not credible," said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter. "The military has studied this issue extensively and determined that permitting qualified transgender people to enlist and serve will only strengthen our nation's armed forces."
"This question has been asked and answered already by this Court," said GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi. "The military has had nearly a year and a half to be ready to implement an enlistment policy its own leaders created and adopted. It strains credulity to argue it is not prepared to do so. It's time to move forward and allow enlistment by qualified transgender Americans who wish to serve."
Today's filing includes declarations from both former United States Secretary of the Navy Raymond Edwin Mabus, Jr. and military expert, scholar, and veteran Dr. George Richard Brown. Former Secretary Mabus stated that based on his experience, allowing transgender candidates to enlist is not a complicated process and that nearly all of the necessary preparation had been completed when he left office more than a year ago: "It is inconsistent with my understanding of the status of those efforts and the working of military personnel to conclude that the military would not be prepared almost a year laterand six months after the date on which the policy was originally scheduled to take effect." Dr. Brown echoed this conclusion: "Based on my knowledge and experience, I do not agree that the military will be either unprepared or overwhelmed on January 1, 2018 to implement the transgender enlistment policy."
In Doe v. Trump, NCLR and GLAD argue that Trump's ban, first announced in a series of tweets, is irresponsible and discriminatory because qualified and able transgender Americans who wish to enlist have been barred from doing so and transgender service members have been demeaned and stigmatized and faced with the prospect of discharge and the loss of their professions, livelihoods, health care, and the post-military retirement they have worked hard to earn.
NCLR and GLAD have been at the center of the legal fight challenging President Trump's military ban since filing Doe v. Trump, the first of four cases filed against the ban, on August 9. The Trump administration lost the first round and appealed Judge Kollar-Kotelly's October 30 nationwide preliminary injunction to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, one court level below the United States Supreme Court. This preliminary injunction temporarily halts Trump's ban and returns things to the status quo while the legal challenge makes its way through the courts.
The two organizations are also co-counsel in a second suit challenging the ban, Stockman v. Trump, brought by Equality California. Oral argument in Stockman v. Trump is scheduled for Monday, December 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. www.GLAD.org .
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org .