Federal Court Allows State of Washington to Join Lambda Legal Lawsuit Challenging Discriminatory Transgender Military Service Ban

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Ruling follows court’s earlier rejection of attempt by U.S. Department of Justice to stay the lawsuit
November 14, 2017
(SEATTLE, November 14, 2017) – A U.S. District Court judge today granted the state of Washington’s motion to intervene in support of the plaintiffs in Karnoski v. Trump, the federal lawsuit filed in August by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN challenging the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s ban on military service by transgender people. Washington is the first state to intervene in one of the lawsuits challenging the discriminatory ban. Today’s ruling follows Saturday’s decision by the court denying a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to stay the case based on the preliminary injunction granted in another case in Washington, D.C. Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn issued the following statement:
“This is great news, and we welcome the state of Washington to this case. The state’s lawyers highlighted the broad scope of harms caused by the federal government’s discrimination, not merely on transgender Americans who wish only to serve, but also by extension on the economy of the state of Washington, and on its ability to recruit and maintain qualified members of the Washington National Guard. We are grateful to Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson for joining us in this fight, as they have joined other fights against the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back civil rights across the country.”
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit in August in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, and they represent nine individual plaintiffs and three organizational plaintiffs. The organizational plaintiffs are The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Seattle-based Gender Justice League, and the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), who joined the lawsuit on behalf of their transgender members who are harmed by the ban. Oral argument on the motion for a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit is scheduled for next Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
On July 26, 2017, attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia joined a letter denouncing the President’s exclusion of transgender individuals from the military as “blatant discrimination” that violates “fundamental constitutional and American values.” In addition to Washington, the states include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.
The lawsuit is Karnoski v. Trump. Read more about the case here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/karnoski-v-trump
The Lambda Legal attorneys working on the case are: Peter Renn, Jon W. Davidson, Camilla B. Taylor, Tara Borelli, Natalie Nardecchia, Sasha Buchert, Kara Ingelhart, and Carl Charles. They are joined by co-counsel Peter Perkowski of OutServe-SLDN. Also on the legal team are pro-bono co-counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Newman Du Wors LLP.

Contact Info

Tom Warnke, 213-841-4503; twarnke@lambdalegal.org

Related Issues: Military, Transgender Rights