A second federal court has halted the implementation of President Trump’s order banning transgender service members from serving in the military.
The ruling restricts the government from taking any action with regard to the ban while an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit challenging it moves forward.
Significantly, unlike the injunction last month, it not only allows trans personnel to continue to serve but also blocks the military from refusing to provide transition-related surgeries, as ordered by Trump.
The president unexpectedly announced the ban on Twitter in July. Judge Marvin J. Garbis slammed the process behind Trump’s decision-making and his troubling form of governance.
“An unexpected announcement by the President and Commander in Chief of the United States via Twitter that ‘the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military’ certainly can be considered shocking under the circumstances,” wrote Garbis in his ruling.
He found that the ban likely violates the federal constitution and that the lawsuit against it has a good chances of succeeding.
“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 added.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the ACLU of Maryland and six serving members of the armed forces who are transgender. The organisation argues that the ban violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment.
The lawsuit further insists that the ban discriminates based on sex and transgender status and that it is based on uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, moral disapproval, and a desire to harm this already vulnerable group.
“Today is a victory for transgender service members across the country,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project. “We’re pleased that the courts have stepped in to ensure that trans service members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”