Transgender people and LGBT+ groups have slammed the US Supreme Court decision to allow President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops to come in to effect.
The US Supreme Court voted by 5-4 on Tuesday (January 22) to allow the president’s ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces, overturning a stay issued by lower courts while the issue faces legal challenges.
Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, the two right-wing Supreme Court justices appointed by Trump, were key votes on the issue, overriding the narrow liberal majority that had taken precedent on previous cases relating to LGBT+ rights.
The decision has been slammed by transgender campaigners, allies and LGBT+ groups, who condemned its impact on trans military personnel, and potential wider consequences for other LGBT+ cases pending before the court.
Supreme Court Trump military transgender ban ruling ‘creates dangerous environment’
Peter Renn of Lambda Legal, a law firm representing transgender military personnel in the case, said: “The Supreme Court’s decisions today are perplexing to say the least…allowing the administration to begin to discriminate, at least for now, as the litigation plays out.
“For more than 30 months, transgender troops have been serving our country openly with valor and distinction, but now the rug has been ripped out from under them, once again. We will redouble our efforts to send this discriminatory ban to the trash heap of history where it belongs.”
OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Andy Blevins said: “For the past two-and-a-half years, thousands of qualified, transgender individuals have made our nation’s armed forces better, in every measurable quality, with their authentic service.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Trump-Pence Administration to institute their wanting and discriminatory practices while the litigation proceeds is disappointing — our siblings-in-arms deserve better.
“We look forward to continuing our representation of these proud and selfless patriots, and reminding this Administration that military policy cannot be defined by baseless and discriminatory rationalisations.”
“They are also weakening the strength of our military and setting a dangerous precedent that puts the safety of our soldiers and nation’s military readiness in jeopardy.”
— Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD
Sarah McBride of Human Rights Campaign said of the Trump military transgender ban ruling: “Allowing Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s transgender troop ban to go into effect harms both transgender service members and our national security.
“As this critical matter makes its way through the courts, brave transgender patriots deserve to have their constitutional rights protected. Today’s decision thrusts this administration’s discriminatory agenda onto a military that clearly doesn’t want it, and does so at the expense of transgender people’s careers and service – and we remain committed to fighting for all transgender troops.”
Celebrities hit out at Trump military transgender ban
Pose star Indya Moore tweeted: “It’s really scary. Trans people can only support ourselves/eachother but so much within a system that is actively erasing us. I think it’s more than time for cis people to come out & stand up in solidarity. Please pressure your cis celebrity & political icons to show up for you.”
Comedian Sarah Silverman wrote: “1) Are you f**king kidding me?! 2) what other horrible thing is this news a decoy for at the expense of our heroes – our trans military are heroes like the rest — more so —because they have to deal with this shit from people whose lives & way of life they are protecting.”
George Takei added: “Today’s SCOTUS decision permitting the Trump administration to continue its ban on trans servicemembers while the litigation is pending is a travesty of justice and a blow to the heart of all notions of equality and fairness.”
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Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black tweeted: “Trans soldiers deserve better than having their service & bravery banned. It’s un-American. Every citizen who values their own rights & freedoms now has an obligation to stand up for our trans soldiers…or risk normalizing any kind of citizen being stripped of their rights too.”
Democrats united in condemning Trump military transgender ban
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “Donald Trump’s ban on trans Americans serving in our nation’s military was purpose-built to humiliate brave men and women seeking to serve their country. Deeply concerning that the Supreme Court is allowing his ban to proceed for now.”
Senator Kamala Harris, one of the Democratic frontrunners hoping to challenge Trump for president in 2020, said: “Transgender military members have the courage to serve our country and deserve to do so. We have to fight back to reverse this.”
Another rumoured challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders, added: “Discrimination has no place in our military or society. It is my hope that this temporary ruling will not be the final outcome. We must stand with trans service members. Trump’s efforts to divide us will not succeed.”
Trump military transgender ban ruling furthers ‘blatant bigotry and discrimination’
American Military Partner Association (AMPA) President Ashley Broadway-Mack said: “Our military families are incredibly alarmed right now by the court’s decision to lift the injunctions that were blocking implementation of the Trump-Pence administration’s unconscionable transgender military ban.
“The thousands of transgender military members and their families serving our nation right now deserve better than this decision, which has compounded the tremendous amount of uncertainty these military families were already facing.
“Our only hope is that justice will ultimately prevail over blatant bigotry and discrimination when the court hears the full arguments of our case.”
Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD added: “Not only is the Trump Administration creating a dangerous environment for transgender service members, but they are also weakening the strength of our military and setting a dangerous precedent that puts the safety of our soldiers and nation’s military readiness in jeopardy.
“The American people believe that all qualified patriots willing to serve their country in uniform should be able to do so without intimidation or discrimination, and while the court’s decision today is a setback, fairness and equality must prevail in the end.”