WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives, on Thursday, passed a non-binding resolution rejecting President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. The resolution was sponsored by U.S. Representative Joseph Kennedy, III (D-MA), chair of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force.

 

“We are so happy to see the People’s House pass a resolution strongly rebuking the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender service members with bipartisan support," said Sharon McGowan, Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer of Lambda Legal. This important resolution is a helpful step towards showing President Trump that the public overwhelmingly opposes his discriminatory ban, which not only hurts our fellow Americans, but also our national security."

 

"Lambda Legal is grateful to the 238 members who voted in favor of H. Res. 124, including House majority leadership and the resolution’s lead sponsor, Congressman Kennedy," McGowan continued. "We urge the Senate to take up a similar resolution immediately so that we can ensure transgender service members, who meet every rigorous military standard, are able to serve openly and given the equal dignity and respect that they deserve.”

 

The final vote was 238-185, with 5 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting in favor of the resolution and one member voting “present”.

 

“Transgender service members have been serving openly throughout the U.S. Armed Forces with distinction for years, and, with this vote, the House has made clear that they support transgender troops,” said the Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary Sarah McBride. “Today’s bipartisan majority in the U.S. House join leading medical associations, national security experts and former military officials in opposing this dangerous and discriminatory policy. We urge the U.S. Senate to take action so that every service member can know that the both chambers of Congress respect their service.” 

 

Kennedy’s resolution was brought to the floor with the strong support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Subcommittee on Military Personnel Chairwoman Jackie Speier (D-CA). The bipartisan resolution was co-sponsored by 218 representatives, including Republican Representative John Katko (R-NY).

 

The vote comes just weeks after five brave transgender service members - Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace, Army SSgt. Patricia King and Navy Petty Officer Third Class Akira Wyatt - testified before the U.S. House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel.

 

Following Donald Trump’s initial tweets announcing his intention to ban qualified transgender people from serving in the military, HRC joined six active  members of the armed services, three individuals seeking to enlist, the American Military Partners Association (AMPA) and Washington state’s Gender Justice League as co-plaintiffs in Karnoski v. Trumpone of four federal lawsuits filed challenging the ban.

 

Despite the string of court victories for transgender troops and recruits in federal district and circuit courts, the U.S. Supreme Court recently stayed the preliminary injunctions that had been blocking the Trump-Pence administration from implementing their discriminatory ban. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that they would begin discharging openly transgender service members who come out after April 12, 2019, beginning the discrimination against transgender service members even as several cases continue to make their way through the courts.

 

A diverse range of voices have opposed banning transgender people from serving in the military. Thirty-three former national security experts and military leaders, the American Medical Association and the NAACP filed briefs in support the cases filed to halt the Trump-Pence ban. In testimony before Congress, all four service branch chiefs stated that open service for transgender patriots had not inhibited military readiness or unit cohesion.

 
Last week, former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen (ret.), penned a powerful piece supporting open service for transgender troops and opposing the administration’s arbitrary and animus-fueled policy.

 

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