The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Monday announced it would sue President Trump over his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
The ACLU said in a statement that it had filed the lawsuit on behalf of its Maryland chapter and five current military personnel who are transgender.
The civil rights organization’s lawsuit alleges that the ban is unconstitutional as it singles out transgender individuals for discrimination and unequal treatment.
Trump signed a presidential memo last Friday telling the Defense Department to stop accepting transgender individuals seeking to enlist in the armed forces.
The memo effectively bans transgender people from enlisting in any of America’s military branches.
The directive also told Defense Secretary James Mattis to explore how to handle transgender people who are currently within U.S. military ranks.
The measure additionally ordered the Pentagon to stop paying for gender reassignment surgeries, save for cases already in progress to “protect the health of an individual.”
Trump requested that the Pentagon develop a plan for implementing the ban by Feb. 21, 2018, with a goal of debuting it March 23, 2018.
The president abruptly announced last month that he would reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump said.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Trump’s new policy reversed former President Barack Obama’s administration’s decision in July 2016 to openly let transgender people serve in the military.
The memo sparked fierce backlash from LGBT advocacy groups and some current and former military personnel who oppose Trump’s decision.