US top court allows Trump's transgender military ban to go into effect

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2019 11:49 hrs
White House (AP photo)

New Delhi: The United States Supreme Court allowed US President Donald Trump's transgender military ban to go into effect on Tuesday, dealing a blow to LGBT activists who call the ban cruel and irrational.

The US Justices did not rule on the merits of the case, but will allow the ban to go forward while the lower courts work through it.

The four liberal justices on the Court objected to allowing the administration's policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military to go into effect.

The policy, first announced by the US president in July 2017 via Twitter, and later officially released by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis in 2018, blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions. It also specifies that individuals without the condition can serve, but only if they do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth.

In a statement released after the SCOTUS decision to allow the ban to go forward, the Pentagon sought to clarify that its policy is not a ban on all transgender persons from the military.

"As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity. (The Department of Defense's) proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world. DoD's proposed policy is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the U.S. Armed Forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world," Lt Col Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokesperson, told CNN.

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