BALTIMORE, M.D. — A second federal judge has blocked President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis said transgender people serving in the military have “demonstrated that they are already suffering harmful consequences” because of the policy that first showed up in the form of a tweet.
The ruling, in Baltimore, comes just weeks after another ruling, in Washington, that blocked the administration’s plan to stop recruiting transgender soldiers, and possibly kick out those already serving. This most recent ruling goes even further, also blocking the administration from refusing to provide funding for gender confirmation surgery.
Garbis wrote in his ruling that the transgender service members successfully “demonstrated that they are already suffering harmful consequences such as the cancellation and postponements of surgeries, the stigma of being set apart as inherently unfit, facing the prospect of discharge and inability to commission as an officer, the inability to move forward with long-term medical plans, and the threat to their prospects of obtaining long-term assignments.”
Lawyers for the Justice Department attempted to get the case thrown out, arguing that it was premature, as the policy is on hold pending a Defense Department review. The judge did not agree with that assessment, stating that the “only uncertainties are how, not if, the policy will be implemented.”
“The lack of any justification for the abrupt policy change, combined with the discriminatory impact to a group of our military service members who have served our country capably and honorably, cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest,” Garbis argued in his ruling.
Trump has claimed he made the decision to ban trans people from the armed services after speaking with top generals, but there remains no evidence of this, and Democrats have asked for proof.
The ruling comes one week after the Pentagon approved paying for an active-duty soldier’s gender confirmation surgery, per a policy put in place under the Obama administration, and noting that the individual had already begun the transition process.