Senators Introduce Amendment To Fight Trump's Transgender Ban

Gladys Abbott
September 12, 2017

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has joined Sen. Any qualified American who is willing to serve should be allowed to do so, regardless of their gender identity.

Under the amendment, a service member "may not be involuntarily separated from the Armed Forces, or denied reenlistment or continuation in service in the Armed Forces, exclusively on the basis of the member's gender identity".

A bipartisan pair of senators introduced an amendment Monday to try to reverse President Donald Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. "We are thankful for Senators Collins' and Gillibrand's leadership in working to stop President Trump's unpatriotic attack on thousands of our military families, and we urge the Senate to pass this critically important amendment". Both women were also instrumental in pushing for the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which allowed gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals to serve openly in the USA military.

The Gillibrand-Collins amendment comes a month after Trump formally ordered a reversal of a 2016 order allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military.

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In late August, the president issued a memo blocking new transgender recruits while giving Defense Secretary Jim Mattis time to make a decision regarding those already serving in the military. Instead, it relies on a military study on the issue announced June 30 by Defense Secretary James Mattis, setting a February 21 deadline for the study to reach Congress. The amendment sets a deadline for completing that study on December 31 and directs the Pentagon to send Congress a report on that study no later than February 21.

"Media reports have been characterized by misperceptions about what will happen next if Congress fails to take action", Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin said in a statement.

It remains unclear whether the measure will get a vote, since the amendment is just one of more than 300 that have been submitted. It seems that even if the amendment became law, the portion of Trump's ban that would end government funding for that procedure would be allowed to stand. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who as chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee has considerable sway over the defense authorization bill.

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