President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban will go into effect this week after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly decided that the embattled proposal could temporarily move forward.
In an unsigned order, the justices decided 5-4 that the Trump administration could enforce the ban while other lawsuits weave their way through lower courts. The opinion lifts previous injunctions that prevented the ban from going into effect nationwide.
Trump surprised members of the defense community in July 2017 when he announced, by tweet, his plan to ban transgender individuals from serving their country. The move, which affects nearly 9,000 military personnel, reversed an Obama-era policy that allowed people of varying gender identities to enlist.
Some trial judges initially blocked the ban after LGBTQ advocates sued the administration. In its Tuesday decision, the Supreme Court stayed two injunctions — in California and Washington state — that prevented the ban from going into effect nationwide.
The other ongoing lawsuits, however, could stop the ban in its tracks.
Under Trump’s policy, transgender people already in the military should be able to continue their service, although individuals diagnosed with a condition called gender dysphoria will be unable to enlist. People without diagnosed gender dysphoria can serve, but they’ll be forced to identify by a gender that aligns with their biological sex.
“We are pleased the Supreme Court granted stays in these cases, clearing the way for the policy to go into effect while litigation continues,” Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, told the New York Times. “The Department of Defense has the authority to create and implement personnel policies it has determined are necessary to best defend our nation.”
Cover image: Nick Rondoletto, left, and Doug Thorogood, a couple from San Francisco, wave a rainbow flag and hold a sign against a proposed ban of transgendered people in the military at a protest in the Castro District, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Olga R. Rodriguez)