McCain Backs Bill Blocking Trump's Transgender Troops Ban

Pauline Gross
September 17, 2017

In August, Trump asked the military to indefinitely extend the ban on transgender people enlisting in the military, but left it up to Mattis to decide if those now serving should be allowed to stay.

Separately, four U.S. senators - including John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee - introduced legislation that would not allow the Pentagon to remove present service members based on their gender identity. "Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve-including those who are transgender".

"When less than 1% of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country", McCain said in a statement. Transgender service members deployed today are serving with honor and distinction.

Last month, the White House issued guidance on implementing President Donald Trump's ban on transgender troops, which he first announced on Twitter.

"I strongly believe that we should not return to the days of 'forc [ing] young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens, '" Mullen wrote, citing language he used in 2010 regarding the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy that forbade gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from serving openly.

Mattis has said the Pentagon will develop a plan that "will promote military readiness, lethality and unit cohesion". "Congress needs to act on a bipartisan basis to do what is best for our country and national security, and that includes overturning President Trump's poorly conceived transgender ban". Outside experts may be included to provide additional advice.

Sarah McBride, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the memo and new legislation demonstrate the Pentagon and lawmakers, unlike Trump, are willing to support transgender troops.

According to the Pentagon, Mattis made clear in his memo that the current policies on transgender troops remain in effect.

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The transgender military ban has already sparked several legal challenges, including one filed Thursday by OutServe-SLDN, a network of LGBT military personnel, and civil rights litigators Lambda Legal.

Transgender troops that are now serving in the United States military will continue receiving the medical treatment they need and will not be evicted from the armed forces until at least February. Mattis delayed any decision on enlistments until January 1, 2018.

Require Secretary Mattis to complete his review of accession of transgender individuals into the Armed Forces by the end of this year and report the results to Congress.

Since then, officials have been working to figure out a new policy, including whether transgender troops now in the military should be thrown out.

The bill's other sponsors are Sens.

Introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), this amendment would have prevented the Department of Defense from removing or blocking the enrollment of qualified service members exclusively on their gender identity. Susan Collins of Maine.

Gillibrand and Collins recently tried to add a similar amendment to the fast-moving defense authorization bill. But she said the Senate's Republican leadership "cut off debate" and blocked the amendment from getting a vote. He directed Mattis to conduct a review and figure out how to make the shift.

Other reports by GizPress

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