A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. military must start admitting transgender service members beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, in compliance with a memorandum issued by former President Barack Obama last year.
In a clarification issued on Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly stated that her injunction means that the military must continue to follow the policies established by Obama's "June 30, 2016 Directive-type Memorandum," which held that transgender individuals can enlist beginning on Jan. 1.
"Any action by any of the Defendants that changes this status quo is preliminarily enjoined," the judge wrote.
Kollar-Kotelly further noted that Defense Secretary James Mattis does not have the authority to delay the start of recruitment of transgender service members.
"This is an important clarification because it means the military can't do an end run around the judge's decision," said Jennifer Levi, of the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), said about Kollar-Kotelly's order.
GLAD and The National Center for Lesbian Rights sued the government in August on behalf of five longtime transgender service members after President Donald Trump issued an executive order asking the military to stop enlisting transgender individuals and not use funds to pay for gender transition-related surgery. The complainants argued that the ban was unconstitutional and denied them equal rights and due process.
The judge had previously issued a lengthy memo in which she said that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their case.
"The court finds that a number of factors—including the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President's announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself — strongly suggest that Plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious," she wrote in October, as reported by The Hill.
Trump's memo had given Mattis six months to assess the role of transgender troops who are currently serving in the U.S. military.
Last month, Trump's attempt to ban transgender military service members suffered another setback after another federal judge in Baltimore ruled that such a ban lacks justification and "cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest."
U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis contended that Trump's order is not backed by genuine concerns for military efficacy.
At that time, Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam asserted that Garbis' injunction was "premature" because the Pentagon was still "actively reviewing" transgender service requirements. She also argued that none of the plaintiffs have demonstrated that they will be affected by current policies on military service.
Trump's order was supposed to take full effect in March 2018, and an appeal could still overturn the latest decision.
- Doughnut shop draws backlash from LGBT activists over partnership with Salvation Army
- Ohio legislature approves measure banning abortions on babies diagnosed with Down syndrome
- Famed theologian RC Sproul dies after being hospitalized due to breathing difficulties
- Medical waste company terminates contracts with abortion providers
Apart from attacks from Fulani herdsmen and Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, Christians in Nigeria are also facing increasing threats and attacks from occult groups that are targeting churches at night.
A Christian teacher in the U.K. is suing a school after he was suspended for referring to a transgender pupil, who self-identifies as male, as a girl.
A young boy who was staying at the Smyllum Park orphanage in the 1960s was beaten "black and blue" after catching two nuns in an embrace at a boiler room, a child abuse inquiry has heard.
A Protestant pastor in Indonesia is facing a blasphemy charge over his remarks about the Quran during his conversation with a taxi driver.
A leading secularist group has raised concerns about cross memorials that were created by high school students in Georgia as part of a city effort to honor local military veterans.
Sudanese court upholds eviction of pastors as government steps up campaign to take over church properties
A Sudanese court has turned down an appeal of two pastors who were evicted from their church-owned homes in August as part of what is believed to be a government campaign to take over church property.
Pro-life leaders accuse Pope Francis of undermining Church teachings on contraception, sexual morality
Pro-life leaders from across the world have accused Pope Francis and other Church leaders of failing to uphold Catholic teachings on sexual morality, contraception, sex education, marriage, and other life and family issues.
A new documentary from the History Channel has claimed that Jesus Christ may not have been born in a stable of an inn but a residential house owned by Joseph's relative in Bethlehem.
Members of the British parliament are asking the government to consider refusing entry to U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham, who is accused of making inflammatory comments against Islam and the LGBT community.
Amnesty International Ireland is being threatened with criminal charges after it refused to return an illegal donation from U.S. billionaire George Soros to fund its pro-abortion campaign.
There has been a significant decline in President Donald Trump's job approval rating since February, and it is most noticeable among white evangelical Protestants, a group that proved to be his core voting bloc in the 2016 elections.