ANN ARBOR, Michigan, July 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The pro-family and religious liberty firm Thomas More Law Center is going to court on behalf of a socially-conservative group of military veterans and analysts targeted by LGBT activists for supporting President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender soldiers.
Finalized in March, the ban 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.” It was came from “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 Center for Military Readiness (CMR) is led by Elaine Donnelly, a longtime foreign policy analyst who served on President George H. W. Bush’s Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, and advised by a variety of retired military officers, foreign policy experts, and conservative thinkers. It supports the ban as part of its mission of “defending elements of military culture that are essential for morale and readiness in the All-Volunteer Force.”
The ban has been tied up in litigation from the start, most recently with a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejecting the administration’s request to lift an injunction against implementing it. In May, Donnelly wrote that pro-LGBT attorneys issued three subpoenas to CMR and two other organizations, demanding copies of any communications between themselves and White House and Pentagon officials from the announcement of Trump’s candidacy to the present day.
This effort to “drag us into the litigation as ‘non-parties’” were meant to “punish CMR for engaging in public policy discussions, and to chill our First Amendment right to participate in important debates,” she said.
On Wednesday, Thomas More announced that it had filed a motion in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to stop the subpoena against CMR, noting that the group isn’t a party to the government’s legal battle and wasn’t involved in developing or implementing the ban.
“This intrusive subpoena seeks information irrelevant to the underling case in which CMR has no part,” Kate Oliveri, the Thomas More attorney representing CMR, said. “It is an example of those pushing identity politics attempting to bully and silence any opposition through an abuse of the legal process.”
The center’s press release goes on to detail subpoena’s demands, which it calls “staggering.”
They include any printed or electronic record of “telephone conversations, letters, telegrams, teletypes, telexes, telecopies, e-mail, text messages, computer linkups, written memoranda, and face-to-face conversations” CMR may have ever had with the Trump campaign, Trump and his presidential office, Vice President Mike Pence and his office, and the Department of Defense pertaining to transgender people in any way.
“CMR opposes the LBGT-Plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery on the grounds that such discovery is irrelevant and out of proportion to the needs of Plaintiffs’ case, imposes an undue burden on CMR, and infringes on CMR’s First Amendment Rights under the U.S. Constitution,” Thomas More contends.
In May, Donnelly noted that the views CMR’s opponents are now trying to scandalize were admitted to be common not long ago.
“In June 2017, for example, AP reported that three of four military service leaders wanted one or two years more time before implementing Obama-era transgender mandates,” she wrote. “This is consistent with Defense Secretary Mattis’ recent congressional testimony, indicating that military leaders had expressed concerns about implementation mandates early in the Trump administration.”
Others, including veterans who are opposed to transgender service, have noted that the American Psychiatric Association classifies gender dysphoria as a mental disorder, and that transgender individuals suffer higher suicide rates.
“Equal opportunity is important, but if there is a conflict between career considerations and military necessity, the needs of the military and the nation must come first,” Donnelly declared Wednesday.