David Iliff, Wikipedia Commons

In a letter to Donald Trump on Tuesday, 143 Congressional Democrats — including Reps. Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, and Keith Ellison — urged the president to rescind his ban on transgender Americans enlisting in the military.

“We urge you to reconsider your ban on transgender individuals serving in our country’s military. There is no place for discrimination in our Armed Forces or indeed anywhere else in American society,” the Congress members wrote. “Enforcing your ban could mean discharging active duty soldiers, sailors, Marines, and members of the Air Force who are serving honorably. It also would mean barring other patriotic Americans from serving in the future.”

Trump announced his ban on transgender people serving in the military via Twitter in late-July. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated at the time that Trump would have to issue such a policy through the proper channels, and on Friday, Trump signed a memo to that effect. Mattis said on Tuesday that the issue would undergo a study and currently serving transgender troops would remain until at least March.

The members of Congress expressed deep concerns about the ban. “We are deeply concerned about the clear unconstitutionality of your ban. As existing case law makes clear, the government cannot discriminate against transgender people on the basis of their status or sex – and the military is not exempt from constitutional requirements. It is not clear to us that your administration has reckoned with these realities”

The full letter is here:

Download (PDF, 11.13MB)

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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