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Civil Rights Groups Sue Trump Over Transgender Military Ban

The ACLU, Lambda Legal, and others filed lawsuits on Monday over the Trump administration’s decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) made their announcement via Twitter :

“BREAKING: We’re taking @realDonaldTrump to court to challenge the unconstitutional transgender military ban.”

The ACLU and ACLU Maryland filed the lawsuit on behalf of Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Staff Sergeant Kate Cole, Senior Airmen John Doe, Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, and Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert.

The lawsuit argues that the ban is a violation of the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment. The ACLU also said that ‘Military, medical and legal experts have concluded that allowing open service by transgender individuals, many of whom have been serving in silence for years, does not disrupt military readiness or unit cohesion and imposes negligible costs.”

The ACLU announced that they plan to fight the President’s transgender ban “every step of the way.”

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN also filed a federal lawsuit on Monday that challenges the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s transgender military ban. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two transgender individuals who seek to join the military, a current service member who is seeking an appointment as an officer, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Gender Justice League.

The group also made an announcement via Twitter on Monday:

“BREAKING: We just sued @realDonaldTrump over his #TransMilitaryBan. See you in court, Mr. President. #LGBTQ”

“Thousands of current service members are transgender, and many have been serving openly, courageously and successfully in the U.S. military for more than a year — not to mention the previous decades when many were forced to serve in silence,” Renn added. “Once again attacking a vulnerable population based on bias, political opportunism and demonstrably untrue ‘alternative facts,’ President Trump is denying brave men and women the opportunity to serve our country without any legitimate justification whatsoever,” said Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn via the group’s website.

Plaintiffs Ryan Karnoski, Staff Sergeant Cathrine “Katie” Schmid and Drew Layne (Photo: Lambda Legal)

The individual plaintiffs in the case include Ryan Karnoski, a 22-year-old Seattle man who currently works as a social worker and wishes to become an officer doing social work for the military; Staff Sergeant Cathrine (“Katie”) Schmid, a 33-year-old woman and 12-year member of the U.S. Army currently serving in Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, who has applied to become an Army Warrant Officer; and Drew Layne, a high-school student from Corpus Christi, Texas, who is about to turn 17 and, with parental support, wants to join the Air Force.

On August 9th, two other organizations, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) had filed lawsuits on behalf on five anonymous plaintiffs who are serving the Air Force, Army, and the Coast Guard.

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