Federal court puts stop to Trump's transgender military ban

The latest preliminary injunction has been ordered in the ongoing case.

ByABC News
November 22, 2017, 8:00 AM

— -- A federal court ordered a halt Tuesday to President Donald Trump's order barring openly transgender people from serving in the military.

The court issued a preliminary injunction that was publicly announced by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is a part of the lawsuit against the ban.

The legal move stops any ban on transgender individuals from serving in or being recruited by the military and allows any transition-related surgeries to take place if those are a part of the individual's medical plan.

The ACLU views the preliminary injunction as a win.

"Today is a victory for transgender service members across the country," said Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT and HIV project, in a statement Tuesday. "We're pleased that the courts have stepped in to ensure that trans service members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."

“First and foremost, the health and welfare of our service members is of the utmost importance, and one of our top priorities," US Army Major Dave Eastburn, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday. "That said, current interim guidance laid forth by the Secretary of Defense clearly states that persons diagnosed with gender dysphoria, by a military medical professional, will continue to serve. The current policy is under review and a recommendation will be made on the conditions of that policy from the Secretary to the White House sometime early next year. For specific details on the verdict from the Baltimore District Court, I would direct you to the Department of Justice.”

Department of Justice spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said the agency is considering its next move.

"We disagree with the court's ruling and are currently evaluating the next steps. Plaintiffs' lawsuit challenging military service requirements is premature for many reasons, including that the Defense Department is actively reviewing such service requirements, as the president ordered, and because none of the plaintiffs have established that they will be impacted by current policies on military service," Ehrsam said.

In a statement, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said, "The president's directive is legal and promotes our national security. The Department of Justice will vigorously defend it."

This is the second legal block that Trump's order has faced. When ABC News reached the Department of Justice in late October about the first temporary injunction, which stopped a ban on recruiting trans individuals for the armed services, a spokesperson said, "We disagree with the court's ruling and are currently evaluating the next steps."

Trump announced the ban in a series of tweets on July 26, saying that transgender service members would be barred from serving in any capacity.

Immediately after those tweets, military leaders worked quickly to assuage some service members' concerns without directly contradicting their commander in chief.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued his guidance the next day, saying there would be no immediate changes until Trump handed down further instructions. "In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect," Dunford said at the time.

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