In a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joined attorneys general from several states and the District of Columbia expressing their opposition to the President's ban on transgender people serving in the Armed Forces.
In addition to Attorney General Kilmartin, the letter was signed by attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C.
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.
"The common thread among all those who serve in our military is their commitment to protect this great nation at home and abroad and to do so with honor," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Discrimination and prejudice have no place in our military, and the President has done a great injustice to all those who serve."