Judge Marsha Pechman ruled that as transgender people are of a “protected class,” President Trump was not allowed to discriminate against them.
Last month, Donald Trump introduced a new plan to ban transgender people from the military, in a draft that Mike Pence and other anti-LGBTQ activists allegedly made.
Thankfully, a federal judge has ruled that this new ban, much like the first one, is unconstitutional and so cannot be implemented. This is despite the administration claiming that one of the cases against the ban should be thrown out, as this new one allows “some” transgender troops to serve.
In her ruling, Judge Marsha Pechman wrote: “Transgender people have long been forced to live in silence, or to come out and face the threat of overwhelming discrimination.
“The Court also rules that, because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class. Therefore, any attempt to exclude them from military service will be looked at with the highest level of care, and will be subject to the Court’s strict scrutiny.
“This means that before Defendants can implement the Ban, they must show that it was sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype, and that it is narrowly tailored to achieve those interests.”
Pechman also noted that continuing discrimination against transgender people was “unrelated to their ability to perform and contribute to society.”
In the new ban, Trump claimed to have consulted with leading military experts, even though one of America’s top generals said that transgender troops shouldn’t be banned from the military back in September. However, in Judge Pechman’s ruling, she highlighted that the administration had “failed to identify even one General or military expert he consulted, despite having been ordered to do so repeatedly.”
Lawyers and plaintiffs praised Judge Pechman’s ruling. Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN released a joint press release. In it, Outserve-SLDN’s legal director Peter Perkowski said: “While it does not grant the ultimate relief — a judgment without trial—the court’s decision gets us well on the way to defeating this ban.
“Significantly, the court rejected the government’s position that last month’s announcement was a ‘new policy,’ it kept the preliminary injunction in place, and set a high bar for the government to prevail.
“We remain confident that the facts presented at trial will prove determinative and we can finally put this discriminatory and harmful ban out of our misery.”
And in a tweet, Lambda Legal’s Director of Strategy, Sharon McGowan said: “Judge Pechman cut through the nonsense and realized that there was no “new ban” – just the same ole ban w/ some new packaging.
“Trans discrimination triggers strict scrutiny. Full stop. DOJ gets one last chance to defend policy but make no mistake – this ban is going DOWN!”