Kilmartin joins opposition to ban on transgender members serving in the military

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Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin recently joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief opposing the Trump Administration’s plans to ban open military service by transgender individuals.

The amicus brief, filed today with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, argues that banning transgender individuals serving in the military is unconstitutional, against the interest of national defense and harmful to the transgender community at large. The case, Doe v. Trump, was brought by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

"To ban transgender individuals in our military tells them, ‘you are not welcome here.’ The common thread among all those who serve in our military is their commitment to protect this great nation at home and abroad and to do so with honor, regardless of gender identification," said Kilmartin. “The decision to ban honorable, well-trained, and patriotic service members based on nothing more than their gender identity is undiluted discrimination and therefore indefensible.”

The attorneys general argue in their brief that transgender individuals volunteer to serve in the armed forces at approximately twice the rate of adults in the general population, and that approximately 150,000 veterans, active-duty service members, and members of the National Guard or Reserves identify as transgender.

In the brief, the attorney generals state that since adopting open service policies, “there is no evidence that it has disrupted military readiness, operational effectiveness, or morale. To the contrary, anecdotal accounts indicate that the positive impacts of inclusion were beginning to manifest, as capable and well-qualified individuals who were already serving finally were able to do so authentically.”

Additionally, the attorneys general strongly support the rights of transgender people to live with dignity, to be free from discrimination, and to participate fully and equally in all aspects of civic life, and argue that these interests are all best served by allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military.

States joining in today’s brief include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

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