Civil rights groups on Monday filed two separate lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the US military. Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN [press release] filed a complaint [text] in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington on behalf of a current army Staff Sergeant, two transgender individuals who wish to serve in the military, Human Rights Campaign and the Gender Justice League. The Lambda Legal complaint asserts causes of action for violation of the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment guarantees of Equal Protection and Due Process along with the First Amendment right to free speech. The other complaint [text, PDF] was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [press release] in the US District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of six transgender people from numerous branches of the military. The ACLU’s complaint asserts causes of action for violation of the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment guarantees of Equal Protection and Due Process. Both of these complaints seek injunctive relief. The White House declined to comment about these two pending lawsuits.
Last week Trump formally issued [JURIST report] the ban on transgender individuals serving in the US military. In addition to the ban, Trump also prohibited the use of military resources funding sex reassignment surgical procedures for military members except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex. Earlier in August five transgender service members filed suit [JURIST report] after Trump announced his intentions on Twitter. These service members alleged that re-imposition of the ban would violate the Due Process and Equal Protection components of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. That case, seeking injunctive relief, is currently pending before the US District Court for the District of Columbia. Trump’s decision to re-implement the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military was first announced in a series of tweets in late July. The previous ban on transgender military service was lifted [JURIST report] last July under then-president Barack Obama, reversing a long-standing policy that prevented transgender persons from serving in the military and made a transgender identity grounds for discharge.