RULING: Transgender Military Ban Prevented From Taking Effect in Latest Federal Court Decision

By Shane Stahl • June 18, 2018 • 5:09 pm

On Friday, opponents of the attempted ban on transgender military service scored yet another victory as a court in Washington denied the Trump administration’s request for a stay in the case of Karnoski v. Trump, following preliminary injunctions against implementation of the ban issued and upheld by federal courts nationwide.

Marsha Pechman, Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, wrote in her decision:

“The status quo shall remain ‘steady as she goes,’ and the preliminary injunction shall remain in full force and effect nationwide.”

Pechman, in her decision, cited the testimony of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, who recently spoke before the U.S. Senate on the subject of transgender service, saying, “We treat every one of those sailors with dignity and respect that is warranted by wearing the uniform of the United States Navy. By virtue of that approach, I’m not aware of any issues.”

President Donald Trump introduced the intention to ban open transgender military service in mid-2017, and in August of that year, signed an executive order demanding as such. Immediately, our partners at Lambda Legal, GLAD, NCLR, and Outserve-SLDN filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the ban.

The United States District Court For the District of Columbia was the first court to issue a preliminary injunction in October of 2017, followed by district courts in Maryland, California, and Washington in subsequent months. This allowed open transgender service to begin on January 1, 2018. On March 23 of this year, the White House released the details of the ban and a plan for implementation; however, a court decision on March 27 prevented this from taking place.

Following Friday’s ruling, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said in a statement:

“Yet again, the Trump administration has tried to implement and expedite discrimination, and yet again, the court has said no. You would think the administration would get tired of all the losing, and more importantly, would read the writing on the wall and abandon this discriminatory and harmful scheme to prevent brave and qualified transgender people from serving their country.”

Karnoski v. Trump is currently scheduled to go to trial in April of 2019. Freedom For All Americans congratulates our many friends and partners working to defend the rights of transgender soldiers on this important victory.

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