Late Friday, the District Court for the Central District of California handed President Trump yet another defeat in his dogged pursuit of banning transgender service members from serving in the US armed forces. The court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, requested by plaintiffs in Stockman v. Trump, to halt enforcement of Trump’s trans military ban while it is being challenged in the courts.
Also on Friday, the Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the Justice Department’s request for a stay on trans military enlistments that are now slated to start on Jan 1. The three-judge panel noted that trans people “are already serving the country openly in the military.”
The Stockman v. Trump victory is the fourth time a federal court has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction—the first was issued on October 30 in Doe v. Trump. The preliminary injunction temporarily requires that trans troops and enlistees be given equal treatment as other servicemembers, something Sec. of Defense Mattis demanded shortly after it became clear that Trump’s trans ban tweet was an order.
Plaintiffs in Stockman v. Trump include Equality California, the State of California and individual current and aspiring transgender service members. They are being represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and Latham & Watkins LLP.
“Today is a significant victory for transgender service members across the country,” Rick Zbur, Equality California Executive Director, said in a press release. “We thank our brave plaintiffs, our lawyers at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Latham & Watkins LLP, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra for this win. This ruling along with the others in similar cases affirms the fact that transgender troops deserve to be treated with honor, dignity and respect.”
“This court saw the gravity of the issues at stake – for our plaintiffs, for our military, and for our national security,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR’s Legal Director. “Trump’s ban is a dangerous policy, which has wreaked havoc in the lives of transgender service members and the entire transgender community. Each court that rules against it brings us closer to a permanent end to this nightmare.”
“Four district courts have now ordered the military to allow transgender people to enlist and serve,” said Jennifer Levi, Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project. “The military has put in place procedures to ensure the orderly processing of enlistment applications as of January 1. And transgender people continue to serve proudly and courageously across the globe. The case against President Trump’s ban on military service by transgender people is gaining momentum. There is no principled reason to prevent qualified transgender people, who wish to do so, from putting their lives on the line to defend our country.”