Second judge blocks Trump's transgender military ban

U.S. President Trump speaks during annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House in Washington

U.S. President Trump speaks during annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House in Washington

The Trump administration's transgender ban was also being argued in federal court in Seattle on Tuesday in a case brought by gay rights group Lambda Legal, with a judge grilling a Justice Department lawyer over the president's intent and over how his directive has already affected transgender troops.

A second federal judge has blocked President Donald Trump from banning transgender people from serving in the USA military.

Trump's proposed ban was first announced in a series of tweets, in which the commander-in-chief said that transgender service members would be banned from serving in any capacity.

Kollar-Kotelly's ruling left in place the ban on medical treatments for transgender troops; Garbis blocked it. His ruling followed a similar one by a federal judge in Washington on October 30.

Through an August 25 presidential memorandum, the president also sought to stop federal resources from funding sex-reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel other than what was necessary to protect an individual's health that had already begun.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the proposed ban in September, cheered the Tuesday ruling.

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In July, President Trump surprised military leaders and members of Congress when he announced the proposal in a series of tweets. No decisions have been made, government lawyers said, about whether to discharge active-duty service members exclusively because they are transgender. The challenge from six active-duty service members in Maryland was filed days after Trump issued a formal order reversing an Obama-era policy allowing transgender men and women to serve openly and to receive funding for sex-reassignment surgery.

The memo called on Defense Secretary James Mattis to submit a plan by February 21 on how to implement the changes, and the Pentagon has created a panel of senior officials for that goal.

He said it "lacked justification" and "cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest".

"An unexpected announcement by the President and commander in chief of the United States via Twitter that "the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military" certainly can be considered shocking under the circumstances", Garbis wrote, after embedding screen shots of the tweets pages earlier.

The U.S. Department of Justice said it disagreed with the ruling and was evaluating its next steps.

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