DOJ appeals ruling against Trump’s transgender military ban

Eliminating any question on whether the administration would allow court orders against President Trump’s transgender military ban to stand, the U.S. Justice Department late Tuesday appealed one decision to a federal appeals court.

The appeal came on the same day a federal court in Maryland issued a preliminary injunction against Trump’s transgender military ban, becoming the second court to enjoin the directive Trump issued in August.

But the appeal wasn’t for that order. The Justice Department appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit an earlier decision issued by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in D.C.

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement the Trump administration is “digging in its heels” by appealing the decision.

“Thousands of transgender Americans are serving honorably — many with decades-long careers — and are just as willing and capable as any of their peers,” Minter said. “This attack on our dedicated service members is not just unconstitutional, it’s a disgrace.”

The notice of appeal eliminates any question on whether the Justice Department would continue to defend the ban or allow the ruling to stand, although there have been prior indications the Trump administration would fight the decision.

After Kollar-Kotelly issued her order on Oct. 30, the Justice Department sought a stay on the decision, citing an ongoing review of transgender military service at the Pentagon. The lawyers for plaintiffs — the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders — objected the stay, and Kollar-Kotelly ultimately ruled against it on Nov. 14.

Because the district court denied a stay, the order against Trump’s policy — which ensures transgender troops can continue to serve without fear of discharge — will remain in place as the appeal goes forward.

Jennifer Levi, the Transgender Rights Project Director for GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders, criticized the Trump administration in a statement for appealing the decision.

“Today’s filing signals that the Trump administration is more committed than ever to demeaning and stigmatizing transgender service members and transgender Americans,” Levi said. “The government filings supporting these baseless attacks read like pure fiction — and thousands of transgender Americans need and deserve for this horror story to end.”

The Trump administration has as of Tuesday night yet to take action on the order against the transgender military ban issued by U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis in Maryland.

Also on Tuesday, a district court in Seattle held oral arguments in a separate lawsuit against the transgender military ban against filed by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN. Oral arguments in another lawsuit filed by Equality California are set for Dec. 11.

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