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Congressional Statements on the Transgender Service Ban

 

Here are the statements that we have so far, we will continue to update this post as more become available.

U.S. SENATE

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) – “The thousands of transgender Americans serving in our military are heroes – just as all of our service members are – who risk their lives to keep us safe. Forbidding these brave Americans to serve our country flies in the face of the values the United States was built upon. It also undermines our national security and makes our military forces weaker. Our military should be recruiting the best and brightest, regardless of gender identity.” [7/26/2017]

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) – “Servicemembers should be accepted on the basis of their ability to fight, train, and deploy without discrimination. Many transgender Americans have served honorably and capably – and countless others are serving now and would seek to serve in the future. President Trump should be thanking these servicemembers and veterans for their dedication and commitment to our nation instead of barring them from service. This rash and surprising Tweet contradicts the Department of Defense’s previous policy decision to allow transgender servicemembers to serve openly, and constitutes official discrimination.”  [7/26/2017]

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) – “Discrimination has no place in our Armed Forces. Our brave transgender service members put their lives on the line for our country every day. They bravely defend our Constitution and its guarantee of equal protection under the law. They do not deserve a Commander-in-Chief who doesn’t place an equal value on the sacrifice of each and every individual who serves our country. I will stand against this administration’s ban and continue to fight for equality for transgender Americans.” [7/26/2017]

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) – “Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity.” [7/26/2017

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) – “All Americans who are fit and willing to serve our country in the military should be given the opportunity to do so. President Obama recognized this and rightly decided that transgender individuals should be allowed to serve. Since becoming an all-volunteer force more than four decades ago, men and women of every race, religion, ethnicity, sexual preference and gender identity have proudly served in our armed forces. Today’s decision is a step in the wrong direction.” [7/26/2017] 

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) – “Donald Trump is right about one thing—actions do speak louder than words. And our President’s latest actions are a full-on assault on the LGBT community. This morning, in a series of Tweets, President Trump said he would reverse course on an Obama-era decision and no longer accept or allow transgender Americans to serve in the military in any capacity. There’s no courage or leadership behind that decision. I believe that if you want to serve our country and protect our freedoms, then you should be able to do so without having to hide who you are or who you love. President Trump called these Americans a burden on and disruption to our military. I disagree. They are heroes.” [7/26/2017]

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) – “This morning transgender service members put on their uniform and showed up for their military duties to be told by their Commander in Chief via Twitter that he doesn’t want them in ‘any capacity.’ These service members are willing to die for their country, and this is an insult to their brave and honorable service. This new directive is harmful, misguided, and weakens – not strengthens – our military. I will introduce legislation and will fight to overturn this discriminatory decision.” [7/26/2017]

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) – “We need to honor – not shame – the men and women who put their lives on the line for the country they love, because every veteran and member of the military is owed our utmost respect for their service and sacrifice. If a servicemember can do the job and is willing, they should be able to serve – and they should be able to be open about who they are. It’s deeply unfortunate the president chose to announce this divisive news in an abbreviated and cavalier manner via social media, potentially impacting thousands of transgender servicemembers currently serving around the world. Decisions about military force posture and readiness are matters of life and death that should be among the most seriously considered by a president, and motivated by the best military judgment of the armed forces – not by politics.” [7/26/2017]

Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) – “President Trump’s transgender military ban, like his Muslim ban, is un-American and unconstitutional. Every American, no matter their race, faith, sexual orientation, or gender identity, should be allowed to express their commitment to the United States through military service, and those individuals deserve our respect and support.” [7/26/2017]

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – “The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter. The statement was unclear. The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so—and should be treated as the patriots they are.” [7/26/2017

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) – “Anyone who puts on a uniform to defend our freedoms deserves our country’s support and whole-hearted respect. As a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the daughter of a World War II veteran, I am committed to continuing work with my colleagues and members of our military to support everyone who plays a critical role in the defense of our nation and anyone who dreams of joining their ranks, and I certainly stand ready to push back against President Trump’s hateful agenda against the LGBTQ community. It does not represent who we are as a nation.”  [7/26/2017]

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) – “Anyone who wants to and is qualified to serve in our military should be able to do so, period. Discrimination should have no place in our Armed Forces,” said Murphy. “There are thousands of members of the transgender community who are currently bravely and ably serving our country today. I’ll work with my colleagues to overturn this hateful policy.” [7/26/2017]

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) – “Today, on the anniversary of President Harry Truman’s order desegregating the United States Armed Forces, President Trump is choosing to retreat in the march toward equality. This was a divisive political move that exposes the President’s lack of faith in the professionalism of our Armed Forces. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, every American who is brave enough to serve their country should be free to do so.” [7/26/2017]

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) – “Once again, when President ‎Trump fears the news on Russia or other scandals, he changes the subject, lashing out at a group he sees as vulnerable. But this move to reinstate discrimination in our armed services is an attack on the brave LGBT Americans who already serve with distinction. Their selflessness is not disruptive or a burden; it’s American. Our fighting forces should seek to recruit the best and brightest America has to offer, based on talent and mission readiness, not on fear and bias.” [7/26/2017]

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) – “The President’s discriminatory statements released this morning are disgusting. It’s startling he would make our country less safe by recklessly preventing a group of patriots from continuing to serve their country. I proudly stand behind our transgender community as they are cowardly assaulted by the President from his social media account.” [7/26/2017]

Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Guam) – “I am concerned by the President’s ad hoc approach to decision making on serious policy matters that have significant consequences, especially when it comes to our men and women in uniform. I seriously question the extent to which the President consulted with senior military officials prior to this decision, especially given that Defense Secretary Mattis recently issued a six-month delay on the implementation of guidance related to transgender servicemembers in order to study the matter further, which Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Selva concurred with just last week. This is a discriminatory decision that could have serious implications on our military readiness and impact many who currently serve our nation.”  [7/26/2017]

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) – “I am deeply disappointed in President Trump’s decision to withdraw such a fundamental right from American citizens. I firmly believe that all people, regardless of gender identification, should have the right, privilege and responsibility to participate in the defense of our country. Thousands of transgender Americans are honorably serving in the military, and I reject any action that diminishes their courage and sacrifice. This is a dark day for our Armed Forces and our nation.” [7/26/2017]

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)  – “Today’s decision by President Trump to bar Transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military is a set-back for our country, our military, and our national security. It tells all communities that experience violence, exclusion and discrimination that they can’t trust the government when we tell them to come out from the shadows. It deprives our military service members of teammates, friends and mentors. And it deprives our nation of talented individuals who have spent years honing their skills as members of our military.”  [7/26/2017]

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) – “Transgender individuals serve our country honorably and are vital to our national security at home and abroad. If implemented, this new bigoted policy would only make us less safe,” Foster said. “I am proud to represent the 11th District of Illinois, which is home to a wonderful LGBTQ community. During his campaign, the President promised he would do everything to protect LGBTQ communities. It is a shame that he has broken this promise and now singles out members of this community as second class citizens. Just two weeks ago, Democrats and Republicans came together in the U.S. House to reject legislation that would have denied medical care to transgender individuals in the military. I call on Congress to continue to make sure our service members are welcome to serve regardless of who they love or what gender they identify as.”  [7/26/2017]

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) – “The President’s ban on transgender service members undermines our military’s readiness and is a slap in the face to the thousands of transgender Americans already serving in the military. Anyone who is willing to put on the uniform of the United States and risk their life in service to our country should be celebrated as patriots, regardless of their gender identity. This short-sighted and discriminatory policy will make America less safe.” [7/26/2017] 

Rep. Brenda Lawrence  (D-NV) – “.@realDonaldTrump, this clear act of discrimination is simply unacceptable. Enough is enough. #StopIt!” [7/26/2017]

Rep. Ted Lieu  (D-CA) – “The President’s exclusion of Americans who happen to be transgender from serving in the military is not based on facts, it is based on naked bigotry. I know because I served on active duty. The military doesn’t care what your sexual orientation or identity is, or who you love. It cares about whether you can shoot straight and complete the mission. The President’s discriminatory decision harms our military readiness for our volunteer-based military. Thousands of transgender Americans are already in the military. Why? Because they are qualified, patriotic and willing to die for their country. There is zero evidence a transgender sniper would be any less qualified than a gay sniper or a straight sniper. Today is a sad day for America.” [7/26/2017]

Rep. Robin Kelly  (D-IL) “Any American who stands up and volunteers to serve this great nation deserves our respect. The decision by President Trump to stop allowing trans* individuals to serve in our Armed Forces is disgusting, reckless and runs counter to our American values. I want to say that I’m shocked, but after House Republicans tried to write hate into this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I’m not surprised.”  [7/26/2017]

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) – “Our soldiers do not discriminate. They defend all of our nation’s people. Their government owes them that same decency in return.” [7/26/2017] Please see full video of his statement here[7/26/2017] .

Rep. Jacky Rosen  (D-NV)“The President’s decision today to ban transgender military personnel from serving in our Armed Forces is an insult to patriotic individuals who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. This discriminatory ban goes against our core American values and our commitment to full equality, and it seriously jeopardizes our national security at a time when we need to increase our military readiness. This move has nothing to do with costs or unit cohesion and everything to do with furthering President Trump’s agenda of divisiveness, ugly rhetoric, and disrespect. The President should honor his campaign promise to do everything in his power to protect our LGBTQ citizens by reversing this misguided attack on those who wish to serve their country.” [7/26/2017]

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)“No American, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be prohibited from honor + privilege of serving our nation #LGBT” [7/26/2017]

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) – I am profoundly saddened by President Trump’s arbitrary ban on transgender people from our nation’s military, which dishonors the service and sacrifice of the thousands of transgender troops currently serving our country with distinction and valor. Rather than excluding good people, we should welcome all who volunteer to honorably wear the uniform and are qualified to carry out the duties and responsibilities that entails.” [7/26/2017]

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) – “This announcement is an unwarranted and disgraceful attack on men and women who have been bravely serving their country. These service members are defending the United States around the world as we speak, and they have long done so with distinction. To prevent transgender people from joining the military and to push out those who have devoted their lives to this country would be ugly and discriminatory in the extreme.” [7/26/2017]

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