WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday expressing opposition to the Trump administration’s ban on transgender service members in the military.
The resolution “strongly opposes President (Donald) Trump’s discriminatory ban on transgender members of the Armed Forces,” and “rejects the flawed scientific and medical claims upon which it is based.”
The vote was 238-185, and five Republicans voted with Democrats. Republican Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Will Hurd of Texas, John Katko of New York and Tom Reed of New York.
The resolution “strongly urges the Department of Defense to not reinstate President Trump’s ban” and “to maintain an inclusive policy allowing qualified transgender Americans to enlist and serve in the Armed Forces.”
In January, the Supreme Court allowed Trump’s transgender military ban to go into effect, in a blow to activists who say the ban is discriminatory, irrational and cruel.
Trump first announced the ban on Twitter in July 2017 and said the reasoning was the “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
The policy was later released by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis in 2018, and it blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions. It specifies individuals without the condition can serve, but only if they do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the Trump administration’s ban “an act of cruelty” in a speech on the House floor and said, “the men and women who step forward to serve in the US military are patriots, all of them.”
“The House will continue to fight this discriminatory action, which has no place in our country,” the California Democrat said. “We will never allow hate and prejudice to dictate our national security.”
Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts, who introduced the legislation, said at a news conference on Thursday, “We must confront the fact that still, in the world’s most powerful democracy, there are members of our society, Americans, that still do not have the freedom to be free for who they are.”
Kennedy said, “here in our country if you can wear the uniform, if you can meet those standards, then your contribution counts, your government’s got your back.”