July 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the Trump administration’s request to lift an injunction on its proposed ban on transgender soldiers in the military.
Letting the administration implement the ban while it was under dispute would intrude on the “ordinary processes of administration and judicial review” and therefore “upend, rather than preserve, the status quo,” the panel wrote. “Therefore, we deny the motion for a stay of the December 11, 2017 preliminary injunction.”
The Trump administration revealed the finalized version of the policy in March. It disqualifies from service “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.”
The policy was crafted after “extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans,” according to the White House and detailed by a memo from Defense Secretary James Mattis. The secretary has told lawmakers he is “prepared to defend” the ban as the “best military advice” he could obtain, but will “not intrude” on the court battle over its enforcement.
Mattis concluded that troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria carry “impacts of healthcare costs, readiness, and unit cohesion,” and as such present “considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”
Several military veterans, such as Heritage Foundation defense expert and retired Lieutenant General Tom Spoehr and former Army drill instructor John Burk have defended the administration’s conclusion. Supporters of the ban have also noted that the American Psychiatric Association classifies gender dysphoria as a mental disorder, and that transgender individuals suffer higher suicide rates.
Regardless this latest ruling means transgender service members can not only continue to serve but continue to receive “transition-related” medical care, and that openly-transgender recruits can continue to enlist in the military.
Wednesday’s ruling is the latest of several affirming the initial injunction, which is not yet a ruling on the merits of the dispute. The trial on the substance of the case is expected to begin in April 2019.
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, who issued the original preliminary injunction, has preemptively signaled that she will side with the LGBT lobby on the merits, writing that “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.”