Transgender Americans will be allowed to join the military starting January 1, the Pentagon confirmed, following a federal judge’s ruling on Monday denying an emergency request by the Trump administration to delay the move. The ruling is another legal setback for President Trump’s effort to ban transgender troops and roll back the open service policy enacted by the Obama administration.
Maj. David Eastburn confirmed the information to the Associated Press within minutes of the court’s Monday afternoon ruling.
“The court will not stay its preliminary injunction pending defendants’ appeal,” Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia wrote Monday.
“In sum, having carefully considered all of the evidence before it, the court is not persuaded that defendants will be irreparably injured by allowing the accession of transgender individuals into the military beginning on January 1, 2018.”
The Trump administration had asked the court for a stay after the Washington, D.C., district court ordered last month that the Pentagon must proceed with the enlistments on Jan. 1.
Administration lawyers filed an emergency motion asking for a stay arguing that the military will be “seriously and irreparably harmed if forced” to implement the policy by Jan. 1, saying that people involved in recruiting haven’t had enough time to be trained in the “complex and multidisciplinary nature” of transgender medical issues.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected the request as part of the Doe v. Trump federal lawsuit filed against Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other top defense officials by six transgender service members, a Naval Academy midshipman, and an ROTC student.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly also noted that the Trump administration waited six weeks to file the motion after she issued her injunction.
“If complying with the military’s previously established January 1, 2018 deadline to begin accession was as unmanageable as defendants now suggest, one would have expected defendants to act with more alacrity,” she wrote.
The Doe v. Trump plaintiffs argued that the Pentagon had been preparing for transgender recruits since June 2016.
“The government cannot credibly claim that it will be irreparably harmed by implementing a policy that it was on track to implement almost six months ago,” they argued in a court filing on Friday.