U. S. District Court Judge Jesus G. Bernal issued a ruling Tuesday, Sept. 18 denying the Department of Justice’s request to lift the preliminary injunction he issued last December halting President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban transgender individuals from openly serving in the military. It was the fourth nationwide preliminary injunction after Federal courts in Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia previously issued injunctions against the ban last year.
The California lawsuit, Stockman v. Trump, was filed last Nov. 20 by seven transgender individuals either serving in the armed forces or intending to enlist, Equality California, and the California Attorney General.
“Discriminating against capable soldiers because of their gender identity does not represent the values of our great nation,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Dec. 27, 2017 after the injunction was issued. “We are pleased that today’s ruling proves that discrimination against transgender Americans will not be tolerated. The President’s disgraceful ban on transgender people serving in the military not only compromises our national security, but it marginalizes transgender Americans who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep us safe. We are proud to be part of the fight to protect the rights of this honorable group of brave people defending our country.”
Bernal’s decision means the preliminary injunction will remain in place, allowing transgender individuals to continue serving in the military. In his ruling, Bernal noted that the ban was discriminatory and unlawful:
“In the history of military service in this country, “the loss of unit cohesion” has been consistently weaponized against open service by a new minority group,” Bernal wrote in his order denying the motion. “Yet, at every turn, this assertion has been overcome by the military’s steadfast ability to integrate these individuals into effective members of our armed forces. As with blacks, women, and gays, so now with transgender persons.
The military has repeatedly proven its capacity to adapt and grow stronger specifically by the inclusion of these individuals. Therefore, the government cannot use ‘the loss of unit cohesion’ as an excuse to prevent an otherwise qualified class of discrete and insular minorities from joining the armed forces.”
“Today’s ruling upholds our nation’s values and interests. The Trump Administration’s transgender military service ban does not,” Becerra said in a statement. “President Trump’s despicable ban weakens our national security and erodes the fundamental value of equality that makes our nation great. Our servicemembers, regardless of gender identity, are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect us. We are proud to continue the fight to protect their liberties despite the federal government’s disregard for equality and the rule of law.”
“Anyone willing to risk their life to protect our country should be treated fairly and with dignity and respect,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “As long as President Trump continues to double down on this unpatriotic and discriminatory ban, we’ll continue to fight him with everything we’ve got — and we have a pretty good track record of winning.”