Annual Meeting

ABA House urges Congress to protect transgender service members in the military

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Julia Sanders /

The ABA House of Delegates on Tuesday voted for a resolution in support of transgender service members in the military, calling on the federal government "to recognize that service by persons who otherwise meet the standards for accession or retention, as applicable, in the United States Armed Forces should not be restricted, and transgender persons should not be discriminated against, based on gender identity."

“This resolution considers individuals who are willing to put their lives on the line for us,” said Akira Heshiki in introducing the resolution on behalf of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. She called on the delegates to support transgender people who wanted to serve. The House of Delgates did, approving the resolution by an overwhelming majority.

Resolution 118 was co-sponsored by Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and the proposed resolution was accompanied by a report that made three main research-backed supporting points:

• “Transgender individuals openly serving in the Armed Forces will have an insignificant impact on military readiness.”

• “Costs associated with providing health care for transgender individuals is negligible.”

• “The transgender service ban violates the constitutional guarantees of Equal Protection Clause and Due Process.”

The current administration has been embroiled in lawsuits since President Donald Trump announced in July 2017 that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military in any capacity.

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