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Pentagon To Activate Transgender Military Ban After Judge Removes Block

A federal judge removed a nationwide bar on President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military Thursday, leaving only a temporary stay on the ban in place.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in January that the Trump administration could enforce a ban on transgender persons serving in the military, but that ruling was rendered ineffective by a Maryland district court order barring the government from enforcing the ban. Maryland U.S. District Judge George Russell ruled Thursday that a nationwide injunction should not stand, reversing his earlier decision, CNN first reported.

Persons diagnosed with gender dysphoria who have undergone hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery cannot enlist in the military under the ban, CBS News reported. Those who have been diagnosed but have not undergone treatments are still eligible, and transgender personnel currently serving will not be barred from continuing to serve, according to CBS.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is “pleased this procedural hurdle has been cleared,” according to a statement, CNN reported. “The Department of Defense will be able to implement personnel policies it determined necessary to best defend our nation as litigation continues,” said DOJ spokesperson Kelly Laco, according to CNN.

The Pentagon will “issue[] further guidance, which will be forthcoming in the near future,” according to Pentagon spokesperson Jessica Maxwell, CNN reported.

The ruling is “deeply disappointing for our clients and for transgender service members across the nation,” ACLU attorney Joshua Block said in a statement, according to CNN. “We will continue to fight against this discriminatory policy and the Trump administration’s attacks on transgender people,” Block added.

The ruling comes after Judge Marsha Pechman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted a preliminary injunction in December 2017, blocking Trump’s ban. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit also upheld a block on the ban in July 2018.

Trump first announced the ban in June 2017. “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,” Trump tweeted.

The case is still pending in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Pentagon will not be able to fully implement the ban until a decision is reached.

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