With four federal courts blocking his discriminatory ban on trans troops, Trump recently issued a new, but similarly flawed order reportedly drafted by LGBTQ opponent Mike Pence. While the courts are unlikely to be fooled by the shift in tactics, Congress should protect trans troops from the homophobic agenda of Vice President Pence. Speak out in support of ALL our troops, and ask King, Pingree, and Poliquin to support the bipartisan bills that would prevent Trump’s ban from taking effect with this easy tool!
Update 3/26: Attempting to blunt multiple lawsuits filed in response to his transgender troop ban issued via Twitter last summer, Trump recently released memoranda scrapping his earlier orders and issuing a new, but similar directive. Although the administration paints the new order as a recommendation from Defense Secretary Mattis, Slate reports that Mattis opposed the ban, but was unwilling to defend the position when overruled by the White House. According to Slate, the task of drafting of the order was taken over by LGBTQ rights opponent Vice President Pence and personnel from the anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation and Family Research Council. Four federal courts have already blocked the Pentagon from discriminating against transgender individuals, ruling that discrimination against trans service members violates the Constitution. Since the new proposal does not remedy the ban’s constitutional flaws, the only likely path forward for Trump is to appeal a decision to the Supreme Court.
The initial ban, made without input from military leaders, was quickly denounced by Republican and Democrat leaders, dismissed by the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and put on hold after Defense Secretary James Mattis said he would need to review the order. The administration claims that the move was prompted by burdensome medical costs of gender transition, but a 2016 report commissioned by the Pentagon found that such costs to the military would be minimal. In fact, another analysis found that the department spends 5 times more on Viagra. Rep. Pingree and senators King and Collins issued strong denouncements of Trump’s proposed ban. King and Collins also joined other colleagues by sending a letter to the Pentagon requesting that active trans military personnel not be discharged. Collins is a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation that would prevent the ban from taking effect, which also has a bipartisan companion bill in the House.
Use an online form from the National Center for Transgender Equality to email your reps, urging them to support bipartisan legislation (S 1820 in the Senate and HR 4041 in the House) that would prevent Trump’s ban from taking effect (Susan Collins is already a co-sponsor, so send her a thank-you message!)