LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A ban against transgender people serving in the military is unconstitutional, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The suit brought by LGBTQ advocacy organization Equality California on behalf of a group of transgender soldiers, alleges President Donald J. Trump and other top members of his administration are discriminating against transgender people on the basis of their gender identity, and impinging on their fundamental rights by penalizing and stigmatizing them for expressing their personal identity.
According to the complaint – which was lodged on behalf of four named and three unnamed transgender plaintiffs – the ban is arbitrary, without a rational basis, and motivated by animus against transgender people.
In addition to Trump, the complaint names Defense Secretary James Mattis and other top military officials as defendants, against whom it asserts several constitutional claims under the Fifth and First Amendments.
“President Trump has attacked American heroes who have risen above discrimination, hostility and lack of acceptance to serve our country by putting their lives on the line in its defense,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “His justification for the ban bears no relation to the truth. Contrary to what the president states, ejecting loyal members of the armed forces promotes chaos and division, not unit cohesion.”
The White House directive reinstated a ban on transgender servicemembers that was lifted last year by former President Obama, as well as bars funding for essential medical care for transgender service members except when “necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)