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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) has filed a motion to intervene as a plaintiff in Stockman v. Trump, one of four separate lawsuits challenging President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender military service.
“We must honor the service and sacrifice of all members of our military by fighting for them when their rights are attacked,” Becerra said in a statement. “California will not allow President Trump’s illegal, discriminatory, and un-American actions to harm our people or our military. Marginalizing transgender service members or any transgender American who wishes to serve our country faithfully and courageously will not occur on our watch.”
Filed on behalf of Equality California’s nearly 500,000 members and seven active-duty service members or prospective military recruits who are transgender, the lawsuit argues that the ban is unconstitutional and singles out transgender people for disparate treatment based on their identity, rather than their qualifications.
Prior to asking the court to intervene in the case, Becerra’s office had filed several amicus briefs in support of LGBTQ service members and veterans in the Doe v. Trump lawsuit based in Washington, D.C. and the Stone v. Trump lawsuit out of Baltimore. Both of those cases have argued, as the plaintiffs in Stockman will, that the court should issue an order to enjoin the Trump administration and the Pentagon from implementing the ban, which is slated to go into effect on Mar. 23, 2018, in order to prevent transgender service members from suffering “irreparable harm.”
“For the Attorney General to take this step sends a powerful message about the gravity of the harm caused by this ban,” Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, said in a statement. “We should be embracing the contributions of dedicated, courageous Americans who are serving and want to serve. Blocking qualified transgender Americans from serving makes our military weaker and our nation less safe and less fair.”