Military Law

Federal judge blocks ban on sex reassignment surgeries for service members

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A federal judge in Maryland has issued a preliminary injunction that blocks the Trump administration from banning transgender people from serving in the military.

U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis of Baltimore is the second judge to issue an injunction blocking the ban, report the Washington Post, the Washington Times and Reuters. Garbis went further than the first judge, however, when he ruled the administration could not stop the use of military resources for sex reassignment surgeries.

Garbis said the administration changed its policy after a July tweet by President Donald Trump announcing the United States “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the military.”

“The lack of any justification for the abrupt policy change, combined with the discriminatory impact to a group of our military service members who have served our country capably and honorably, cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest,” Garbis wrote in the Nov. 21 order (PDF). “A capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy changes.”

Garbis ruled in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, the group said in a press release.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, didn’t rule on the plan to bar military funds for sex reassignment surgery because none of the plaintiffs had shown they would be affected. Four plaintiffs in the case before Garbis could be affected.

The case is Stone v. Trump.

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