California joins transgender military ban caseAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Saturday, November 18th, 2017
CALIFORNIA —In a significant development in the legal challenge to President Trump’s transgender military ban, last night the U.S. District Court for Central California granted Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s motion to intervene on behalf of the State of California in Stockman v. Trump, a case brought by Equality California and seven individual plaintiffs challenging the ban.
“Our state is home to more than 130,000 active duty military personnel, in addition to more than 56,000 members of the National Guard and Reserves,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We are ready to get to work to defend the rights of transgender service members and those who seek to enlist in our armed forces. In California, we stand together against discrimination and inequality. We look forward to joining as a co-plaintiff in this critically important lawsuit to defend the rights of Californians against President Trump’s prejudicial and discriminatory agenda.”
“This is an important development in the fight to stop Trump’s transgender military ban for good,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter. “In taking this action, the court recognized the crucial perspective our state with the largest military population brings to bear on the serious question it is being asked to address regarding the harms of this ban. We are grateful to Attorney General Becerra for joining us in this critical case.”
“Today we take another step forward in beating back Trump’s reckless ban,” said GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi. “It is incredibly significant to have the state of California – the most populous state in the nation — with us in this fight for service members, for those who wish to enlist, and for the stability and strength of the military.”
“We must stop Trump’s transgender military ban once and for all—too much is at stake for California, and for the nation,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “I want to thank Attorney General Becerra for joining in this effort to stop the ban, which discriminates against our state’s residents, has no rationale for being in place, and makes us less safe. Today’s action by the court makes us even more confident that it will rule decisively against the administration and their reckless policy.”
NCLR and GLAD serve as co-counsel in the case, filed on behalf of Equality California (EQCA) members and seven individual plaintiffs. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the State of California in an effort to protect the State and its 92,000 transgender residents from what he called a “patently discriminatory federal policy,” a motion the court granted yesterday.
Attorney General Becerra’s motion to intervene was based on several arguments, including that implementing Trump’s transgender military ban would:
- Impede the California National Guard’s ability to recruit and retain members that would protect the State’s natural resources in times of need,
- Force California to violate anti-discrimination laws and discriminate against its own residents in staffing the California National Guard, and
- Threaten the State’s ability to safeguard public institutions of higher learning from discrimination in ROTC programs.
The National Guard has been deployed more than 40,000 times since September 11, 2001, and there are currently 18,000 service members in the California National Guard. The Governor of California is the Commander-in-Chief of the California National Guard and relies on it in times of state emergencies, such as the recent massive wildfires across wine country. In 2014, The Williams Institute estimated that 6,700 transgender Americans were serving in the National Guard across the 50 states and found that transgender Americans were twice as likely to be serving or have served in our nation’s military.
Simultaneous to granting the motion to intervene, the court moved the previously scheduled November 20 hearing in Stockman v. Trump to December 11, and requested additional briefing from the parties.
In addition to NCLR and GLAD, plaintiffs in Stockman v. Trump are represented by Latham and Watkins LLP.
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