FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 27, 2017
Contact: James Hallinan (505) 660-2216
Albuquerque, NM – In a letter to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Attorney General Hector Balderas and a coalition of 19 attorneys general expressed their opposition to the President’s ban on transgender people serving in the Armed Forces. The letter was joined by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C.
“At a time when our nation faces unprecedented threats at home and abroad, President Trump is putting his ideology over national security,” said Attorney General Balderas. “American lives should not be put at risk simply because a beleaguered President needs a political distraction. Transgender service members should be allowed to serve our country based on their abilities and without fear of prejudice.”
On Wednesday, the President by tweet announced a new ban on transgender service members, citing unnamed support from military leadership. In response, the attorneys general declare the ban is discriminatory and, despite the President’s claims otherwise, is actually harmful to military readiness. The letter notes that approximately 150,000 transgender service members have served in the United States Armed Forces:
“Transgender service members fill a number of critical military roles. Retaining these talented service members strengthens—not weakens—our military readiness.”
The attorneys general remind the House and Senate committees of the honorable service performed by transgender service members, writing:
“The members of our Armed Forces put their lives on the line to protect freedom for all Americans. Thousands of transgender Americans serve in uniform today. This policy tells them, ‘you are not welcome here.’ The decision to oust honorable, well-trained, and patriotic service members based on nothing more than their gender identity is undiluted discrimination and therefore indefensible. We urge that this newly announced policy be immediately reversed.”
A copy of the letter is attached.
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