A federal judge blocked key components of Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the military in a Monday decision that paves the way for them to enlist.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who serves on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, granted a preliminary injunction that will halt the policy, which the president first announced in a July tweetstorm.
Trump claimed that allowing trans troops to join the armed forces would entail “tremendous medical costs and disruption,” claims that were subsequently debunked.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, a pair of LGBTQ advocacy groups, filed a lawsuit challenging the ban in August, arguing that the policy “already resulted in immediate, concrete injury to Plaintiffs by unsettling and destabilizing plaintiffs’ reasonable expectation of continued service.”
Kollar-Kotelly said in her statement that plaintiffs were likely to win their suit.
“On the record before the court, there is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effects on the military at all,” she stated in a written opinion. “In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects.”
But the federal judge stopped short of taking action against the Trump administration’s refusal to pay for troops’ “sex reassignment surgical procedures.” Kollar-Kotelly stated that the matter isn’t under her purview from the bench.
BuzzFeed, though,reports that the interim policy instituted by Gen. James Mattismandates the Pentagon provide those often-life-saving services.
The advocacy groups behind the suit celebrated the judge’s ruling.
“This is a complete victory for our plaintiffs and all transgender service members, who are now once again able to serve on equal terms and without the threat of being discharged,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, in a statement. “We are grateful to the court for recognizing the gravity of these issues and putting a stop to this dangerous policy.
Minter added that the ban has “wreaked havoc in the lives of transgender service members and their families.”
Reversing a year-old policy instituted by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Trumpsigned his proposed policy into effect this August. The president, who announced the decision while Gen. Mattis was on vacation,gave the military until Marchto determine how it would be implemented.
Following the injunction, Kollar-Kotelly said that the military will “revert to the status quo” prior to Trump’s ban. That decision will reportedly allow trans people to enlist as soon as December.