SEATTLE — The same federal courthouse that ruled against President Trump’s initial travel ban in February will now decide whether his ban against transgender people in the military is unconstitutional.
Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday while the ACLU filed a similar suit on the East Coast. The suits contend President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution.
“Courts are willing to act quickly when people are suffering serious constitutional injury,” said Emily Chiang, legal director with the ACLU of Washington.
Lambda Legal’s lawsuit names several transgender people from Western Washington as plaintiffs. They include people currently serving in the military and others who want to serve.
“My readiness has never been an issue,” Staff Sgt. Patricia King said in an interview with Q13 News.
King is not listed as one of the plaintiffs but she is currently enlisted at JBLM. The outcome will impact King and the thousands of other transgender people.
King started transitioning into a woman two years ago after her third deployment to Afghanistan.
“Those who are aware I am trans, it really wasn’t an issue; my gender identity didn’t become an issue until this proposed ban came up,” King said.
The ACLU says the president is violating the 14th Amendment dealing with citizenship rights and equal protection under the law.
“We are entitled to equal protection of the laws, that means the government can’t discriminate against a certain class of people just because they don’t like who they are,” Chiang said.
“It’s amazing to feel the support of all the places we have been finding it and whether it be Lambda Legal or surprising places like Senator McCain and places like that,” King said.
But supporters of the ban say it boils down to unit cohesiveness and the cost for gender reassignment surgeries.
“Right now we have people who cannot serve in the military with asthma and flat feet, so why would we allow individuals to come in, although patriotic and we appreciate their desire to serve, but who have these medical issues that can be very very costly?" said Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri.
In King ‘s case, she says she’s paid for some of her surgeries out of pocket and timed them out so her job was not affected.
“My gender has nothing to do with how I do my job,” King said.