State of California Asks to Intervene as Plaintiff in Equality California’s Transgender Military Ban Lawsuit, Stockman v. Trump
(LOS ANGELES, November 9, 2017)—California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the State of California in Stockman v. Trump, Equality California’s federal lawsuit challenging Trump’s transgender military ban. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)—the organizations that secured a nationwide preliminary injunction against the ban in Doe v. Trump—serve as co-counsel in Stockman. In his motion, Attorney General Becerra seeks to protect the State of California and its 92,000 transgender residents from what he calls a “patently discriminatory federal policy.”
“Equality California thanks Attorney General Becerra for taking this important stand on behalf of our community and our military,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “The State of California is home to the largest LGBTQ population and military population in the country. We cannot stand idly by while the federal government attempts to discriminate against loyal, patriotic, and brave members of the transgender community.”
Attorney General Becerra’s motion to intervene is based on several arguments, including that implementing Trump’s transgender military ban would:
- Impede the California National Guard’s ability to recruit and retain members that would protect the State’s natural resources in times of need,
- Force California to violate anti-discrimination laws and discriminate against its own residents in staffing the California National Guard, and
- Threaten the State’s ability to safeguard public institutions of higher learning from discrimination in ROTC programs.
The National Guard has been deployed more than 40,000 times since September 11, 2001, and there are currently 18,000 service members in the California National Guard. The Governor of California is the Commander-in-Chief of the California National Guard and relies on it in times of state emergencies, such as the recent massive wildfires across wine country. In 2014, The Williams Institute estimated that 6,700 transgender Americans were serving in the National Guard across the 50 states and found that transgender Americans were twice as likely to be serving or have served in our nation’s military.
“The State of California recognizes that Trump’s discriminatory ban harms not only transgender service members and our military, but also those who rely on our National Guard for emergency assistance. This point is particularly critical in California, which has been facing unprecedented wildfire devastation. We need to embrace every qualified person who is willing to serve, not turn people away simply for being transgender,” said Shannon Minter, legal director at NCLR, which is based in San Francisco.
“For the Attorney General to take this step sends a powerful message about the gravity of the harm caused by this ban,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project Director. “We should be embracing the contributions of dedicated, courageous Americans who are serving and want to serve. Blocking qualified transgender Americans from serving makes our military weaker and our nation less safe and less fair.”
The State of California seeks to join the case by November 20, the day the United States District Court of Central California is set to hear argument.