The United States’ Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed President Donald Trump to enforce his policy barring transgender people from serving in the military, reported The New York Times.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to grant the Trump administration’s request to lift injunctions blocking the policy even as cases challenging the policy continue in lower courts, BBC reported. The court’s ruling is not a mandate, but gives the military an option to enforce the ban.
The policy was first announced by Trump in July 2017 on Twitter and later officially announced by then Secretary of Defense James Mattis last year. The policy blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving in the military. It said that individuals without the condition can serve only if they do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth, according to CNN.
Trump’s rule reversed a policy of the Barack Obama administration that allowed transgender Americans to serve openly in the military and obtain funding for gender re-assignment surgery.
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Pentagon issued a statement clarifying that its policy is not a ban on all transgenders from the military. “The Department of Defense’s proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Carla Gleason told CNN. “DoD’s proposed policy is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the US Armed Forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.”