Attorneys General From 19 States Call on Congress to Block Trump’s Ban on Transgender Military Members
July 30, 2017
As published by The New York Daily News, on July 28, 2017.
ALBANY – Days after President Trump said by tweet he wants to bar transgender people from serving in the military, 19 states’ attorneys general on Friday urged Congress to block the effort.
“This policy change is contrary to the principles our Armed Forces embody, including expanding opportunity and equality,” the group wrote in a letter to members of the Senate and House armed services committees.
The letter, which was spearheaded by Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin, urges Congress to include language in the National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting discrimination against transgender soldiers currently serving and reaffirming that transgender individuals may not be banned from joining the U.S. Armed Forces.
The letter notes that 150,000 transgender individuals have served in the military and calls Trump’s desired policy “undiluted discrimination and therefore indefensible.”
“The policy announced by President Trump’s tweet undermines the national security goal of giving every able American who wants to serve in the military the opportunity to serve, creates untold bureaucratic and legal cost and complexities in implementation, and would put in place a policy that violates fundamental constitutional and American values.”
Among those signing the letter were Eric Schneiderman of New York, George Jepsen of Connecticut, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, and Xavier Becerra of California.
“Transgender service members fill a number of critical military roles,” the letter says. “Retaining these talented service members strengthens-not weakens-our military readiness,” they wrote.