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Two groups of US equality activists today filed law suits aimed at blocking Donald Trump’s controversial decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
Both suits were filed on the same day, in what could amount to a blow for the President’s widely-criticised policy shift.
The American Civil Liberties Union claimed the move was unconstitutional and relied on “uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, and a desire to harm transgender people”.
ACLU attorney Joshua Block said: “Men and women who are transgender with the courage and capacity to serve deserve more from their commander-in-chief.”
The second suit also claims the decision was prompted by prejudice towards transgender people.
It has been filed in the US District Court in Western Washington on behalf of transgender people who wish to enlist.
The plaintiffs argue that Mr Trump’s policy is “dripping with animus” and violates their right to equal protection and due process and right to free speech under the First Amendment.
The Lambda Legal and OutServe-Service Members Legal Defense Network also claim the ban is “unsupported by any compelling, important, or even rational justification”.
Mr Trump sparked controversy last month when he announced his plans to reverse an Obama-era policy that would have allowed transgender people to enlist and serve.
In a series of tweets he wrote: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
On Friday, Mr Trump signed an order known as a presidential memorandum which made his plans official.
A White House official rejected allegations the move was discriminatory. They told CNN: “He’s going to continue to ensure that the rights of the LGBTQ community, as well as all Americans, is protected.
“This policy is based on a series of national security considerations.”
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