Fifteen (15) Democratic attorneys general submitted a brief opposing U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy in banning transgender individuals from serving the military according to the Associated Press report published on The New York Times yesterday .
Arguing that the ban is unconstitutional, is against the interest of national defense, and harms members of the transgender community, the brief declared, “…nothing about being transgender inhibits a person’s ability to serve in the military or otherwise contribute to society.”
It further stated that Trump’s decision was irrational in reversing recent progress and reinstituting formal discrimination against transgender people. Additionally, it asserted that justifications for the ban offered by the administration are contradicted by research, reason, and experience.
Trump claimed that transgender soldiers would increase medical costs and would disrupt the military in its focus on decisive and overwhelming victory.
Findings from a 2016 study from RAND Corporation, however, showed that there is little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness among the 18 countries that allowed transgender people to openly serve in the military.
It has also showed that medical-related costs by trans soldiers would be small, representing about 0.04 to 0.13 per cent increase in health care expenditures.
Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, who leads the group, explained, “Our military should be open to every brave American who volunteers to serve.”
Joining Healey are the attorneys general of the states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and Vermont.
The brief, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was in support of the lawsuit filed by The National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders on behalf of eight transgender members from Air Force, Coast Guard, and the Army, as well as students of U.S. Naval Academy and University of New Haven’s ROTC program.
A spokeswoman from the Justice Department called the lawsuit premature at the time, and that the department asked the court to dismiss it last month.
The lawsuit was filed in response to Trump’s tweets in July announcing that the federal government will no longer accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity, overturning a 2016 official policy that allowed them to serve openly in the military.
Trump has since followed through by formally signing a presidential memo that instructed the Pentagon to halt enlisting transgender soldiers indefinitely and to draw up guidelines for those who are currently serving in the military.
Furthermore, any use of federal funds to pay for sex-change surgeries and medical care was also suspended except when it is considered necessary to protect the health of a patient who has already started the transition.
The president set the deadline for the guidelines on February 21 next year.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, however, announced last month that current policies on transgender troops will remain, allowing soldiers in active duty to continue serving and to re-enlist in the next few months.