WASHINGTON—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) last night struck back at the Trump Administration’s latest attempt to enforce the Trump-Pence transgender military ban. NCLR and GLAD filed a brief opposing the government’s request to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to dissolve the preliminary injunction in Doe v. Trump. In the brief, NCLR and GLAD shoot down the Trump administration’s argument that the implementation plan developed by Secretary Mattis is a “new” policy rather than the same transgender ban President Trump ordered.
Doe was the first lawsuit to challenge the Trump-Pence transgender military ban and won the first preliminary injunction halting the ban. On December 10, attorneys on both sides will argue this issue before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. To secure an order keeping the ban from going into effect, NCLR and GLAD successfully demonstrated that the ban is likely to be held unconstitutional, and that thousands of transgender troops would suffer irreparable harm from the ban. Three other federal district courts have also issued preliminary injunctions blocking the ban.
“In direct response to President Trump’s orders, the military has produced an implementation plan that has the purpose and effect of ridding the military of transgender people from service,” said GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi. “The military’s own research on this topic shows that a ban weakens military strength. Transgender people have been courageous warriors. They have served on the front lines. The Trump-Pence administration owes them a debt of gratitude, not this kick in the teeth.”
“Secretary Mattis was ordered to implement the President’s ban, and that’s what he did,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter. “Four federal courts have independently concluded that the ban is based on discrimination, not military needs and that enforcing it would undermine our national security by excluding qualified individuals simply because they are transgender. The government has failed to show any reason for the D.C. Court of Appeals to reverse that conclusion and permit this harmful policy to go into effect.”
While the administration’s appeal on the dissolution of the injunction is heard at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the case is proceeding in the federal district court where GLAD and NCLR continue to push the administration to turn over documents it has withheld from discovery.
June 30, 2016: The United States Department of Defense (DOD) adopted a policy permitting transgender people to serve in the military based on a nearly two year DOD review determining that there was no valid reason to exclude qualified personnel from military service simply because they are transgender.
July 26, 2017: President Trump tweeted that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
August 9, 2017: NCLR and GLAD filed Doe v. Trump, the first lawsuit filed to stop the ban, challenging its constitutionality and requesting that the court issue a nationwide preliminary injunction to stop it from taking effect while the case is being heard in court.
August 25, 2017: President Trump issued a memorandum ordering Secretary of Defense James Mattis to submit “a plan for implementing” the ban by February 21, 2018. Secretary Mattis delivered this (the “Mattis Plan” and panel report) to President Trump on February 22, 2018.
October 30, 2017: The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Doe v. Trump plaintiffs had established a likelihood of success on their claim that President Trump’s ban violates equal protection, that plaintiffs would be irreparably harmed without a preliminary injunction to stop the ban, and that the public interest and balance of hardships weighed in favor of granting injunctive relief and temporarily halting the ban while the case is heard by the court.
March 23, 2018: President Trump accepts the “Mattis Plan” and issues a memorandum in which he “revoked” his August 25 Memorandum.
April 20, 2018: Defendants file a motion to dissolve the October 30 nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the transgender military ban issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint; and a Motion for Summary Judgment.
May 11, 2018: Plaintiffs file their cross-motion for summary judgment, as well as motions in opposition to Defendant’s motions to dissolve the injunction and dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint.
August 6, 2018: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denies Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Dissolve the Preliminary Injunction
NCLR and GLAD have been at the center of the legal fight challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban since filing Doe v. Trump, the first of four cases filed against the ban, on August 9, 2017.
For more information, go to NCLR and GLAD’s website outlining the history and status of the Trump-Pence transgender military ban https://notransmilitaryban.org/.
About NCLR and GLAD
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.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) was the first national LGBTQ legal organization founded by women and brings a fierce, longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and our community’s most vulnerable. Since 1977, NCLR has been at the forefront of advancing the civil and human rights of LGBTQ people and their families through impact litigation, public policy, and public education. Decades ago, NCLR launched the first LGBTQ Immigration Project, Transgender Rights Project, Youth Project, Elder Law Project, and began working to end conversion therapy through what is now the Born Perfect campaign.
[From a News Release]