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Appeals court clears way for DoD's transgender ban to take effect
The Pentagon's policy banning some transgender individuals from joining the military will go into effect on April 12 after appellate judges lifted the final injunction preventing the policy from being implemented, Defense and Justice officials said.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Justice Department, which had filed an emergency motion asking that the transgender policy be allowed to go forward.
The decision comes a week after a federal judge ruled that an injunction against the policy was still in place because a group which had filed a federal lawsuit challenging the transgender ban had until March 29 to request a rehearing.
"We are pleased the court cleared the way for the Department of Defense to be able to implement personnel policies it determined necessary to best defend our nation," said Kelly Laco, a Justice Department spokeswoman.
Shannon Minter, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the transgender policy, said the court's decision means an injunction would no longer be in place if his clients request a rehearing by March 29.
"The court of appeals granted the government's request to make its prior opinion vacating the injunction effective today, which means the injunction is dissolved, and that, at the moment, there is no legal barrier to the government's intended plan to start enforcing the transgender military ban on April 12," Minter told Task & Purpose.
The Pentagon's policy will prevent people with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from joining the military unless they have been medically stable for 36 months and if they have not yet had medical treatment to transition to a new gender.
Defense officials insist the policy is not a blanket ban against transgender service members. Transgender individuals with diagnosis of gender dysphoria who are currently serving or under contract to enlist or be commissioned are exempt from the policy.
"By our best data, there are approximately 9,000 transgender service members serving honorably today, most of them under the terms and conditions and standards of their biological sex," a defense official told reporters on March 13.
"About 1,000 have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. That leaves 8,000 currently serving, who serve in the confines of their biological sex. This policy doesn't apply to them. They're transgender service members and they're certainly not banned."
SEE ALSO: A Transgender Sailor Who Challenged Trump's Military Ban Will Attend The State Of The Union
WATCH NEXT: A Service Member Talks About Being Transgender And His Support Network
As the US sends 1,000 more troops to Middle East, the Pentagon is a rudderless ship caught in a storm
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
While the U.S. government has publicly blamed Iran for recent attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Oman, not a single U.S. official has provided a shred of proof linking Iran to the explosive devices found on the merchant ships.
At an off-camera briefing on Monday, Navy officials acknowledged that nothing in imagery released by the Pentagon shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards planting limpet mines on ships in the Gulf of Oman.
Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
A Marine Raider convicted in a North Carolina court of misdemeanor assault for punching his girlfriend won't spend any time in jail unless he violates the terms of his probation, a court official told Task & Purpose.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.