September 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Senate blocks vote on Gillibrand amendment to protect trans troops

Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, Democratic Party, United States Senate, gay news, Washington Blade, Every Child Deserves a Family Act, Martin Gill, adoption, foster care, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican Party, Florida, United States House of Representatives

The amendment Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) filed against Trump’s transgender military ban won’t get a vote.
(Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas)

Despite bipartisan support, an amendment proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that would have undermined President Trump’s ban on transgender military service won’t get a vote in the U.S. Senate, the Washington Blade has learned.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide said the Senate didn’t have unanimous consent and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was unwilling to file cloture to force a vote. Gillibrand proposed the amendment, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), as part of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill.

The amendment, which sought to protect transgender troops in the aftermath of Trump’s directive barring them from the U.S. armed forces, had three parts.

It would have expressed the sense of Congress that qualified individuals should be able to serve in the armed forces; prohibited the military from discharging service members solely for being transgender; and codified the review Mattis established in June to determine whether openly transgender people can enlist in the armed forces. The amendment called for a report to Congress on that study by Feb. 21.

The amendment was carefully crafted to obtain support from Republicans and wouldn’t have eliminated every aspect of Trump’s transgender military ban, such as his ban on U.S. military payment for gender reassignment survey. Nonetheless, the Trump administration opposed the amendment, insisting the process Mattis set up at the Pentagon is sufficient to address the issue.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, took to Twitter to condemn the Senate for blocking a vote on the amendment, placing the blame squarely on Republican leadership.

Also condemning Senate Republicans for blocking a vote on the amendment was Democratic National Committee spokesperson Joel Kasnetz.

“Last night, Republicans picked bigotry over security, and cowardice over taking a stand,” Kasnetz said. “By squashing even this incremental attempt to defend transgender members of the military against Trump’s offensive executive order, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republican leadership are destroying lives and disrespecting the people who keep them safe.”

Even though the amendment was thwarted, litigation continues seeking to undo Trump’s transgender military ban. At least four federal lawsuits were filed against the policy.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit in federal court in Maryland, and Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, which filed a lawsuit in Washington State, called Thursday for injunction from those courts blocking enforcement of the ban as litigation moves forward. Another request from an injunction in the lawsuit filed in federal court in D.C. by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders remains outstanding.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Kate Phillips

    Cowards! 😡

    • Marine Captain 3 Percenter

      No. PATRIOTS. Take it from someone in the military, we don’t need or want this stuff. It is a lie. You can’t change your gender. And if you think you are the wrong gender you are mentally ill. Why has this just become an issue? Who decided you could change it? Wasn’t the medical or psychological community.

      • Alex Knisely

        Oddly enough, Threepercenter — may I call you “Threep”? — it IS members of the medical and psychological community who deal with gender dysphoria who back the concept of gender change. They attended desperately unhappy people who were convinced that they were in bodies “wrong” for their souls, people so unhappy that they sought out medical and psychological help. They offered these people drugs, they offered them discussion (“psychotherapy”), and they saw no real betterment in their patients. Then surgery was offered. And, Threep, do you know — enough of their patients felt better when living in bodies that “matched” their souls for their caregivers to endorse surgical treatment, along with drugs and discussion, for a subset of the patients whom they attended. *** Good luck with reading and imagining, Threep. New information may take you to new places and to new perspectives!

        • Marine Captain 3 Percenter

          There is such a thing as psychosis, it is possible to be out of touch with reality. The words you are using to justify this disorder show that. “Unhappy people”, “convinced”. Just because I’m unhappy or convinced of something it doesn’t make it true with respect to reality. I don’t doubt what is happening in their heads feels true to them. That is the definition of psychosis, you are out of touch with reality. You can’t change your gender, not with surgery, not with drugs. Your DNA makes you, not cosmetics or chemical injections.

          People who experience cognitive dissonance literally hallucinate things that aren’t there. Doesn’t make it true.

          These ideas did not come from the medical community, it came from the media and the government. And if you think it did come from the medical community please provide a link to the evidence. It is amazing to me with everything that medicine has discovered we are just now “realizing” you can be in a condition where your soul mismatches your gender? That is absurd. Soul is not scientific if you wanna be precise.

      • Kate Phillips

        Because of the BS that is still being spread, even decades after it was debunked. It wasn’t me who changed it; it was, in fact, the medical AND ( I don’t mean to yell, there’s no way to make the letters bold on this tablet) psychological communities who made the change. Do a little research and enlighten yourself.

  • Arshad Sherif, M.A., M.Ed.

    The best thing about being Senate Majority leader is that you get to give a hottie blonde junior senator a good spanking every once in a while. By refusing to bring to a floor vote Kirsten Gillibrand’s amendment, that is exactly what Mitch McConnell was doing to Kirsten: He was giving her a good spanking. A humiliating spanking in front of the entire nation. She would have preferred to have been called to his office, asked to pull down her panties, and then asked to bend over. That he would give her a good, hard spanking in the privacy of his majestic office. She would have preferred this private spanking, behind closed doors, than the humiliating public spanking of not getting a vote on her amendment.

    By not allowing a vote on her amendment, the Senate Majority Leader is telling Kirsten that she is not good enough. Not good enough for a vote. Not good enough for the Senate. Not good enough to be a senator.

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