Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced that they would not ask the Supreme court to reverse a ruling that blocked the ban on transgender troops in the military.
So, on January 1, 2018, openly transgender people will be allowed to enlist in the U.S. military.
The Justice Department also dropped several appeals over Trump’s transgender military service policy.
Up until now, the Trump administration has been fighting for an indefinite delay on allowing transgender individuals to join the military. Then, on Friday evening, the Justice Department sent the following statement to BuzzFeed news, stating they are choosing to fight in the district courts instead:
“The Department of Defense has announced that it will be releasing an independent study of these issues in the coming weeks. So rather than litigate this interim appeal before that occurs, the administration has decided to wait for DOD’s study and will continue to defend the President’s and Secretary of Defense’s lawful authority in district court in the meantime.”
This decision follows a string of losses in court on the issue. Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th circuit denied the Justice Department’s request to put a lower court’s order regarding the Jan. 1 date on hold. The following day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit made the same ruling.
Trump tweeted in July that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military. The original date for openly transgender people to enlist, put into place for the Obama Administration, was July 1, 2017, but Defense Secretary James Mattis had pushed it back to January 1, 2018.
In August, Trump signed an official directive that banned transgender people from enlisting in the U.S. military, and banned the Department of Defense from providing military treatment to transgender people currently serving. But ever since, the administration has faced major backlash and legal hurdles in order to fully implement the orders.
“Plaintiffs allege, and the Court agrees, the ban sends a damaging public message that transgender people are not fit to serve in the military. There is nothing any court can do to remedy a government-sent message that some citizens are not worthy of the military uniform simply because of their gender. A few strokes of the legal quill may easily alter the law, but the stigma of being seen as less-than is not so easily erased,” said U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal in his ruling against the ban.