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Federal court puts stop to Trump’s transgender military ban

iStock/Thinkstock
iStock/Thinkstock

(WASHINGTON) — A federal court ordered a halt Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s proposed ban of transgender service members from serving in the military.

The court issued a preliminary injunction, which was publicly announced by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is a part of the lawsuit fighting 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 & HIV Project, in a statement. “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 department is considering its next move.

“We disagree with the courts 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 blockage that Trump’s proposed ban has faced. When ABC News reached the Department of Justice in late October about the first temporary blockage that stopped any ban on recruiting, a spokesperson said, “We disagree with the court’s ruling and are currently evaluating the next steps.”

Trump’s proposed ban was first announced in a series of tweets, in which the commander-in-chief said that transgender service members would be banned from serving in any capacity.

Immediately following those July 26 tweets, military leaders worked quickly to assuage some of their service members’ concerns without directly contradicting Trump.

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

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