Washington: A second federal judge on Tuesday ruled against President Donald Trump's ban on transgender military personnel, further undermining his order by saying Pentagon-funded sex reassignment surgeries can continue to go ahead.
Trump in July sent out three tweets decreeing that transgender troops could not serve "in any capacity," citing "tremendous" medical costs and disruption.
The tweets, later followed by a formal White House memorandum, set off a roar of protest — with several service members and rights groups quick to sue.
Trump's predecessor Barack Obama took the historic decision to allow openly transgender troops to serve in the military, a move that was due to go into full effect in July in 2017.
On Tuesday, US district judge Marvin Garbis said the "lack of any justification for the abrupt policy change," coupled with the "discriminatory impact" on troops in question "cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest."
The ruling follows a similar move on 30 October by US district judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who ordered the government to "revert to the status quo" that was previously in effect.
The most recent ruling came in a case filed by Brock Stone and other transgender personnel.
Stone, who is 34 and has served 11 years in the Navy, has been undergoing hormone therapy as a medically necessary part of his transition, court documents state.
Trump stressed to Defence Secretary Jim Mattis that the Pentagon should no longer cover the costs of medical treatment associated with the sex reassignment surgery of those troops already serving.
He gave the Pentagon until 23 March, 2018 to craft a new policy on transgender service members.
Garbis's ruling prevents the government from denying funding for sex reassignment surgeries.
The ruling features screen grabs of Trump's tweets and states these "did not emerge from a policy review, nor did the Presidential Memorandum identify any policymaking process or evidence demonstrating that the revocation of transgender rights was necessary for any legitimate national interest."
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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2017 08:41:13 IST