Military Ordered to Allow Transgender Recruits Starting January

After an earlier injunction had been issued by a federal judge in DC against Donald Trump’s memorandum, which disallowed transgender military service, another ruling in Maryland has affirmed that the military has a mandate to allow transgender recruits. Chris Geidner’s article on BuzzFeed succinctly highlights the decision.

The DoJ has already put out notice that it will appeal the DC injunction issued by District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. This comes after the DoJ’s request for clarification that the injunction she issued did not bar discretionary powers that rest with the Secretary of Defense to defer the effective date for accession, being January 1st, 2018. This date marks the commencement of Obama’s administration policies allowing military service on the part of transgender individuals.

As Geidner reports, the incumbent Secretary of Defense pushed back the date of accession that had been set by Ashton Carter. The then secretary had set the date of accession as 1st July, 2017. Mattis delayed it to 1st January, 2018. Did the injunction then mean that the accession would be put to action immediately, would it take effect on January 1st or would the discretionary powers exercised by the Secretary of Defense stand? Well, according to Geidner, the court did not give the DoJ what it wanted, which was to allow for the exercise of discretion and effectively push the accession further. Instead, the judge ruled that the injunction meant the 2018 date is to stay.

The judge explained that the effect of the order meant the status quo before President Trump’s memorandum blocking the Obama decision came to effect would stand. That is, the policies allowing for the accession of transgender persons into service beginning on January 1st would be upheld. Eyes are now on the DoJ as it proceeds with its appeal, whether it will succeed or not.